Coun­cil faces abat­toir row

Claims of Chi­nese ‘ sell­out’ re­jected

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - MOR­GAN OSS

CLAIMS by Chan­nel 7’ s Sun­day Night pro­gram that Char­ters Tow­ers Re­gional Coun­cil plans to sell out the re­gion to Chi­nese in­vestors have been rub­bished by Mayor Frank Bev­eridge.

The seg­ment was down­played by Cr Bev­eridge ( pic­tured), who said while it was an emo­tive is­sue, the in­sin­u­a­tion there would be no jobs for lo­cals if an abat­toir was built were “ab­so­lute rub­bish”. He also em­pha­sised coun­cil had no in­ten­tion of selling the Dal­rym­ple Sa­le­yards.

“They sug­gested the Chi­nese would own the sa­le­yards and we have been adamant the sa­le­yards have never been for sale,” he said.

Over­seas in­vest­ment in the Char­ters Tow­ers re­gion was put un­der the spotlight in the 24- minute broad­cast. In the seg­ment, Chan­nel 7 drew at­ten­tion to the plight of the re­gion’s gra­ziers and claimed “cashed- up for­eign in­vestors” were on a shop­ping spree to buy cheap, drought- af­flicted land for over­seas gain.

Coun­cil, along­side Townsville Port, has been ne­go­ti­at­ing with Huizhou City, Huizhou Port and Guang­dong Lo­gis­tic In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion in­vestors to build a meat­works lo­cally and es­tab­lish a cat­tle trade route from North Queens­land to south­ern China.

In the seg­ment, re­porter Chris Bath said dur­ing an in­ter­view with busi­ness ad­viser John Co­dring­ton it was the in­ten­tions of for­eign in­vestors to “own the farm, own the sa­le­yards and own the trans­porta­tion” and that “no Aus­tralians ( were) needed” in this process.

Jim and Kym Whe­lan – whose prop­er­ties Koolatah and Dixie were de­val­ued in 2011 af­ter the drought and live ex­port ban – shared their story on the pro­gram. The Whe­lans were forced to sell Koolatah, but it sold to a lo­cal.

Cr Bev­eridge said coun­cil wanted a meat­works to cre­ate jobs and push up the cat­tle price.

“( The low price) has been a prob­lem in the graz­ing in­dus­try for the last 10- 20 years,” he said. “Gra­ziers have not been able to make a de­cent liv­ing.’’

Kennedy MP Bob Kat­ter told Sun­day Night for­eign in­vest­ment was “selling your coun­try off”.

Cr Bev­eridge said he was sur­prised by Mr Kat­ter’s change of heart to­wards for­eign pur­chasers. “I was most sur­prised to see Bob Kat­ter be anti- meat­works when I saw him claim­ing on the front page of The North­ern Miner [ Jan­uary 15] he had se­cret Asian in­vestors com­ing to town to build an abat­toir,” Cr Bev­eridge said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.