Labor fails Northern producers ... again

The Labor Governments stunning ignorance of the needs of rural and regional Australia was again on display in Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry Estimates at Parliament house yesterday.

Despite northern cattlemen repeatedly requesting the department provide more engagement and more assistance, there is currently only one new Rural Financial Counsellor in the north of Queensland and none at all in the Northern Territory.

Senator Ian Macdonald, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Northern and Remote Australia, was questioning Departmental officials about the deployment of Rural counsellors when these revelations came to light.

The Minister has a giant blind-spot when it comes to Northern Australia. He seems to think this country stops at the Tropic of Capricorn he said.

The Gulf country of Queensland and the Northern Territory contain some of the most important agricultural and natural resource assets in this nation. And the people up there are really doing it tough at the moment, he said.

Senator Macdonald cited the live export ban, droughts, fires, and the BJD crisis all of which have impacted on the Gulf Country in the past 12 months as just some of the issues facing producers.

But the Minister and his advisers, ensconced in their offices in the capital, simply do not see whats happening up there they are so out of touch.

Senator Macdonald was disgusted with the blas and arrogant attitude of the Minister.

Normally I would send a transcript of these proceedings to the Northern and Remote stakeholders who rely upon the Coalition to promote their interests said the Senator.

In this case, however, I just dont think I can send the transcript of what transpired today to these struggling Australians. It would break their hearts.

Senator Macdonald was also unimpressed when Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig attempted to blame the issues in the Gulf on the Newman Government.

Mr Newman is doing an outstanding job for the people of Queensland and has shown real empathy for those in trouble. Senator Ludwig does the people of Queensland and himself a great disservice by trying to assign blame in such an adolescent fashion.

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