With a federal election in less than a week it is time to call out the lack of support regional Australia receives from the National Party who are supposed to represent rural and regional Australia.
Bindaree Beef for the last 20 plus years has been the largest employer in the New England electorate. Supporting the local sale yards, creating employment which then flows on to supporting the regional town's economy. We have supported Barnaby Joyce at the last two elections.
For the last two terms Barnaby Joyce has been the federal member for New England and in government. Holding positions such as Agricultural Minister and Deputy Prime Minister and yet what practical policies or decision making has Barnaby Joyce made to improve or support the beef industry?
The beef industry has done it tough for the last few years. Primary producers across Australia have been experiencing arduous conditions over an extended number of years. Natural disasters such as drought, floods and fires combined with the crash in cattle prices have depleted the resources of primary producers making it extremely difficult for them and their families to make a living.
Since the 1980s we have seen thousands of butcher shops close and over one hundred abattoirs close in Australia. This includes the recent closure of Darwin Abattoirs ($120 million cost to build), resulting in major job losses for that community. A similar impact was felt in Ipswich with the closure of the Churchill Abattoir which resulted in 500 job losses.
There has been much written in recent times in the rural press regarding associated costs within the beef industry which is making it more and more difficult to compete on a global stage.
Patrick Hutchinson, chief executive AMIC, recently stated in The Australian that Australian processors and the wider red meat supply chain were battling unsustainable costs pressures while continuing to remain competitive internationally. To process a beast in Australia is around $300 per head compare that with USA at $150 per head and South America at $100 per head.
Brendon Wade for Queensland Country Life in April also wrote an article highlighting that the costs incurred for the beef industry was detrimental to its viability.
With the difficult conditions being faced by producers a ground swell of support was received throughout Queensland and NSW stock and station agents representing beef producers with the proposal of a two year freeze on the $5 levy charge. This simple yet effective important change will help provide some relief needed for producers who are experiencing tough times.
National Party members were lobbied. No response by any National Party member was received.
Recently one of the largest cattle traders in NSW - purchasing up to 100,000 cattle per year has closed.
The mayor of Coonamble called on the federal government to rejuvenate his area.
The mayor of Paroo advised the Queensland Country Life that the community had 14 per cent of the population leave the area in the past year. The mayor calls on the government to put in place polices such as zonal taxation to stop the exit from regional areas.
This is the reality that is occurring in regional and rural Australia, and it has happened under the National Party's watch.
My last observation is a recent interview with Barnaby Joyce on Peta Credlin, where Barnaby talks about the demise of the dairy Industry and how tough dairy farmers were doing it. Barnaby you have been in parliament since 2004, what steps did you take to assist that industry and the farmers to prevent that from occurring?
At the recent NSW state election, MP Trent Zimmerman made the comment that: "Barnaby Joyce should spend less time on TV and more time in Tamworth." He is right. But it's too little, too late.
I'm saying no to the Nationals at this election because the beef industry's future is far to important to be taken for granted. That is why I won't be voting for Barnaby Joyce or the Nationals at this election because they don't deserve my vote.