Danielle Cetinski, 11 September 2015

A BETTER deal for farmers is hoped to set Katter’s Australia Party apart at the next federal election, with Bob Katter visiting Orange on Friday to rouse support.

At a lunch at the CWA Hall, Mr Katter claimed several factors had hurt farmers, including 2.6 per cent interest rates in Australia compared with 0.23 per cent in the rest of the world, the supermarket duopoly, and governments contributing just 5.6 per cent towards farmers’ incomes in Australia compared to the 40.1 per cent OECD average.

He also said the car and whitegoods manufacturing industries had fallen victim to global priorities.

“When [Electrolux] closes, all of Australia’s whitegoods will have to be purchased overseas,” he said.

“Seven years ago, virtually none of our petrol was purchased from overseas, now all of it is, 40 per cent of our food comes from overseas, we’re a net wool, we’re a net importer of seafood, and we’re a net importer of fruit and vegetables.

“I’m curious to know where we’re going to get all this money from to buy everything from overseas because you’re most certainly not going to get it from iron ore.”

He said if governments committed to buying Australian-made goods, sufficient demand would be created.

“It is extremely simple, the real world says that we look after our own people first,” he said.

Mr Katter believed one solution was boosting ethanol requirements to increase demand on the area’s wheat industry.

“Behind Orange is a giant grain growing area. Grain growers in America get 16 per cent more than we do because they have ethanol. Your LNP government’s taken 10 per cent [ethanol level in petrol] down to 2.6 per cent. In Europe, it’s going from five to 15 and every car in Europe next year will have to be 20,” he said.

Mr Katter said he did not have the same access to campaign funds as Clive Palmer did in 2013, but Senate voting trends favoured smaller parties and Calare had voted against the two major parties before.

KAP Orange branch chairman and Molong cattle grazier Tom Harris said Orange’s 20-strong membership had gathered largely due to dissatisfaction with the Nationals and the branch hoped to run a candidate in Calare next year.

Extracted in full from the Central Western Daily.