Joyce backs ag in­dus­try

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - News - AN­DREA DAVY An­drea.davy@ru­ral­weekly.com.au

TO MARK his eight years, seven months and one day work­ing in pol­i­tics, Barn­aby Joyce wore a bor­rowed suit from Lawrence Spring­borg to cham­pion agri­cul­ture in Bris­bane. Speak­ing at the re­cent Ru­ral Press Club lun­cheon, which was held at the Bris­bane En­ter­tain­ment and Con­ven­tion Cen­tre, the Deputy Prime Min­is­ter spruiked the Fed­eral Bud­get and en­cour­aged Queens­lan­ders to have more pride for their agri­cul­tural her­itage. “One of the main rea­sons we never went into re­ces­sion was (be­cause of) agri­cul­ture,” he said. “This has got to be front and fore­most, es­pe­cially in a place like Queens­land.”

Mr Joyce said for too long agri­cul­ture had been “pushed down the lad­der on the agenda” – but he said he was de­ter­mined to change that.

He talked through the $5 bil­lion North­ern Aus­tralian In­fra­struc­ture Fund, the $200 mil­lion re­gional road fund, the 1800km of wild dog fences be­ing rolled out and the im­por­tance of the in­land rail project. How­ever, Mr Joyce shrugged off con­cerns there was not enough money al­lo­cated in the bud­get for im­prov­ing the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion ser­vices for ru­ral re­gions. “Just re­mem­ber... we built and fi­nanced 754 new and up­graded phone tow­ers across the na­tion,” he said.

“The pre­vi­ous La­bor-Green al­liance did zero. So put our 754 up against their zero.”

My Joyce went on to ex­plain the $2 bil­lion worth of SkyMuster Satel­lites were part of an in­vest­ment to get broad­band to re­mote ar­eas. “And I know, there are a few teething prob­lems with them at the mo­ment. But it’s not with the hard­ware, it’s with the soft­ware, and we are deal­ing with that is­sue. “So we are do­ing our bit… let’s get the 754 that we fi­nanced up and run­ning then if we need to we will have an­other crack at it. “But at the same time we need to bal­ance the books as well, which is the other part of be­ing a good gov­ern­ment.”

Af­ter the event, Mr Joyce ad­dressed a press conference, where he backed an al­leged “roy­alty hol­i­day” agree­ment that would see Queens­land lose out on about $320 mil­lion from min­ing gi­ant Adani. Mr Joyce’s com­ments fol­lowed an ABC re­port claim­ing the In­dian min­ing com­pany was of­fered a deal by the state to pay only $2 mil­lion a year in roy­al­ties once the $21 bil­lion project starts. “I think you have to get the Galilee Basin de­vel­oped and this is go­ing to as­sist in that.”

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One of the rea­sons we never went into re­ces­sion was (be­cause of) agri­cul­ture... — Barn­aby Joyce

PHOTO: AN­DREA DAVY

SPEAK­ING OUT: Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Barn­aby Joyce speak­ing at the Ru­ral Press Club in Bris­bane.

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