LNP Senator Ian Macdonald said today Gina Rinehart’s diversification into the Northern Australian cattle industry would be a catalyst for further massive investment in the North.
Senator Macdonald was speaking from Cairns where he is inspecting water projects with fellow members of the Joint Select Committee on Northern Australia.
The committee, made up of Liberal, Labor and Greens MPs, is examining the potential for development of Northern Australia’s mineral, energy, agricultural, tourism, defence and other industries.
"Gina Rinehart’s multi-million-dollar investment in the cattle and cattle processing industries, announced this week, underscores the Coalition’s recognition of the tremendous potential of the Top End," he said.
Hancock Prospecting has bought a 50 per cent interest in two Kimberley cattle stations – Nerrima and Liveringa. The $40 million deal included Waroona Abattoirs, sparking speculation that the company will also process its cattle for export.
"I note that Andrew Forrest, Chairman of the Fortescue Metals Group, recently acquired Harvey Beef, Western Australia’s largest beef operation, for $30 million - another vote of confidence in the future of our beef industry," said Senator Macdonald.
"Ever since European settlement, politicians, explorers and far-sighted entrepreneurs have recognised the potential of the North but the Coalition continues to show that it is committed to action, not just hollow words, to bring the dreams to fruition.
"The Joint Select Committee on Northern Australia that I am part of is currently looking at economically sustainable development opportunities throughout the northern part of Australia above the Tropic of Capricorn.
"Gina Rinehart’s decisive move into the cattle industry is tangible proof of the unlimited potential of the mighty North, as outlined in the Coalition’s Developing Northern Australia: A 2030 Vision document," he said.
Senator Macdonald, who attended the ADC Northern Development Summit in Townsville last week, congratulated Ms Rinehart on her continuing commitment to Northern development.
"Her strong advocacy for opening up the North in her role as Chairman of Australians for Northern Development and Economic Vision (ANDEV) should not be underestimated," said Senator Macdonald, who served as Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Northern Development prior to the last election.
Senator Macdonald urged all Australians to read Ms Rinehart’s book, Northern Australia and Then Some.