6th April 2016 Ministerial Visit for McKinlay Shire
Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Leanne Donaldson visited McKinlay Shire yesterday to meet with producers and with community representatives to discuss the issues that are important to them. Minister Donaldson was planning to visit the region and was therefore very pleased to accept State Member Robbie Katter’s invitation to visit our Shire.
Minister Donaldson and Member Rob Katter met with the newly sworn in councillors who took their Declaration of Office that morning. After the meeting the Minister and State Member left with Mayor Belinda Murphy and new appointed Deputy Mayor Cr. Neil Walker to travel 70km south of Julia Creek to Glenbervie Station. Owners Ted and Kathy Parry graciously hosted a number of representatives from the Shire’s grazing community to talk with Minister Donaldson and Member Robbie Katter about the drought, generational adjustment as cattle producers and current industry change.
During the busy two day trip the Minister met with Mayors and councillors in Cloncurry, Julia Creek, Hughenden, Normanton and Mt Isa and toured Rockvale Station, a number of properties in Hughenden, and Stanbroke Pastoral.
McKinlay Shire Mayor Belinda Murphy thanked the local member Robbie Katter MP for organising the visit and the Minister for spending the time in the shire. “The meeting with our grazing community certainly highlighted the significant challenges being faced that go way beyond just drought impacts but showed the rawness of emotion for people at the moment”
Discussions surrounded the proposed tick line changes and impacts, increasing debt for landholders to just keep their business a float along with succession issues and children not having a future on the family farm. One young grazier Mrs Megan Easton eloquently pointed out that she must be crazy to continue on but producers out here are some of the best in the world at doing what they do and Australia needs a strong, innovative and supported agricultural sector.
Mayor Murphy also commented that the way forward is for constant communication and strong collaboration from industry and government. “Not one induvial or government can make it rain or make this right but if each focuses on playing their part and collaborating I certainly hope for a bright agricultural future”.