Ho­gan at­tacks Greens over cat­tle

Norco and Meat­works would suf­fer

The Daily Examiner - - NEWS - HAMISH BROOME hamish.broome@north­ern­star.com.au

THE idea that cat­tle farm­ing doesn’t be­long in Aus­tralia and should be re­placed with kan­ga­roo farm­ing has been slammed as an “ex­treme” no­tion which risks 6000 lo­cal jobs.

Greens can­di­date for the fed­eral seat of Page Daniel Reid shared a link on Face­book to an ar­ti­cle ti­tled “Eat lo­cals: swap­ping sheep and cows for kan­ga­roos and camels could help our en­vi­ron­ment”.

The ar­ti­cle by Deakin Univer­sity ecol­o­gist Euan Ritchie ar­gued that eat­ing “fewer sheep and cows, and more kan­ga­roos, feral an­i­mals, and in­sects” was good for the en­vi­ron­ment, be­cause of the degra­da­tion in­ten­sive live­stock farm­ing had ar­guably done to much of the Aus­tralian land­scape.

“The days of rid­ing and re­ly­ing on the sheep’s back, cat­tle’s hoof, or the more re­cent, and in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar, chicken’s wing, may need to pass,” Ritchie wrote.

In a state­ment Na­tion­als Page MP Kevin Ho­gan at­tacked the idea as “out of touch”, say­ing it would de­stroy the liveli­hoods of lo­cal beef and dairy farm­ers and cost 6000 jobs.

“The jobs of more than 1200 peo­ple at the Casino Meat­works would be lost, the 850 jobs at Norco would be lost and the in­come of our cat­tle farm­ers would be dec­i­mated,” Mr Ho­gan said.

“Agri­cul­ture, dom­i­nated by cat­tle and dairy, di­rectly em­ploy more than 6000 peo­ple across our com­mu­nity.

“Even more in­di­rect jobs would be lost and many lo­cal busi­nesses de­pen­dent on the dairy and cat­tle in­dus­try would be forced to close their doors.”

Mr Reid de­fended his post in a state­ment say­ing it was “in­tended to stim­u­late con­ver­sa­tion around sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture in this coun­try”.

“The drought has been hor­ren­dous for all of us es­pe­cially those who had to face not be­ing able to feed their live­stock and keep their breed­ing lines,” he said.

“Sus­tain­able an­i­mal agri­cul­ture plays a vi­tal role in the North­ern Rivers com­mu­nity.

“The Greens have a strong pol­icy on sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture.”

Mean­while, Greens can­di­date for the state seat of Lis­more Sue Hig­gin­son de­scribed Mr Ho­gan’s com­ments against the Greens as a “low ball”.

She said she had done her bit to help live­stock farm­ers suf­fer­ing in the drought.

“The irony for me is while Mr Ho­gan is tak­ing aim at a Face­book com­ment made by my col­league, to­day I am send­ing the first 64 of 250 round bales of stock feed to Wer­ris Creek.”

A dry land rice farmer, Ms Hig­gin­son said she usu­ally let her pad­docks fal­low over win­ter but this sea­son de­cided to plant a crop of trit­i­cale (a hy­brid of wheat and rye) for stock feed specif­i­cally for drought re­lief in the west.

“The Greens have stood by farm­ers in the face of coal mine, coal seam gas and drought, and we are fight­ing harder than any party for ac­tion on cli­mate change to ben­e­fit our agri­cul­tural sec­tor.”

Ac­cord­ing to ABS fig­ures cited by Mr Ho­gan, beef con­trib­utes more than $135 mil­lion to the lo­cal econ­omy and makes up 66% of the agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion in Kyo­gle lo­cal gov­ern­ment area.

Last year Norco recorded al­most $1 bil­lion of sales.

Photo: Marc Stapel­berg

Fed­eral Mem­ber for Page Kevin Ho­gan is joined by the Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Michael McCor­mack and Act­ing CEO of Norco Greg McNa­mara to an­nounce an ex­pan­sion worth $10s of mil­lions for the Norco Ice-cream Fa­cil­ity in Lis­more.

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