Katter’s candidate throws support behind Rocky manufacturing
AIMING to make manufacturing great again, Katter’s Australian Party’s candidate for Rockhampton Christian Shepherd has laid out how his party plans to give local businesses a leg up.
In November 1989, Australia’s manufacturing industries employed more than 1.1 million people.
Thirty years later, with an extra 5 million people working in Australia, 916,000 people are employed in manufacturing.
Contrary to a widely held belief, Mr Shepherd believes Australia’s manufacturing industry could return to the strong performances it celebrated during the glory days.
“Just in the Rockhampton area we have Hastings Deering, Dobinsons Spring & Suspension, G.James Glass & Aluminium, Sibelco (QMAG), Aurizon, Adnought Sheet Metal Fabrications Pty Ltd, Depco Drilling, Shep’s Engine Reconditioning, countless engineering and fabrication firms, two meatworks, a dozen quarries and half a dozen concrete plants, plus much more,” Mr Shepherd said.
“Up until a few months ago we had a dairy factory too.
“We’re more than capable of making things ourselves.”
With more and more manufacturing jobs moving overseas, the KAP believed it was making Australians too reliant on overseas supply chains.
According to Mr Shepherd, all local industries needed was the political will and a shift in thinking.
“Politics is downwind of culture, so we as workers and consumers need to change our culture as well,” he said.
“If you aren’t already on board with Australian Made Products, start this October 31.”
If the KAP was able to get the balance of power at this year’s state election, Mr Shepherd said it would push to implement a five point plan to reduce energy prices to ensure the cost of operating was a smaller barrier for manufacturers and heavy industry.
He said this would be complemented by an Australian Market Supply Condition for gas production in Queensland, where this state would be supplied first.
“Additionally, I will support legislation that cuts red and green tape and allows local manufacturing to be more competitive,” he said.
“Gracemere requires investment to establish a State Development Area in the Gracemere-Stanwell industrial corridor. I will support this, in addition other projects in concept.”
Mr Shepherd said his party had other plans to support the manufacturing sector.
“We will also support major road and rail infrastructure to support the logistics our industries will need to remain competitive,” he said.
Katter’s Australian Party wants to implement a Special Economic Zone scheme to create incentives for new projects in areas with rich mineral, energy and agricultural resources (and) to create a Rural Development Bank to accelerate rural and regional development.
Last month, Queensland’s Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing Glenn Butcher explained to The Morning Bulletin what his government was doing to harness the region’s untapped manufacturing potential.
Yesterday Keppel MP Brittany Lauga took Minister for Employment Shannon Fentiman to visit local manufacturer Adnought, praising the expertise of Greg Adams and his team.
“They’ve made trolleys for the Hospital and air-con cages for local schools,” Ms Lauga said.
Adnought has worked on the massive $241 million expansion of the Capricornia Correctional Facility.
“Annastacia Palaszczuk and Labor have already started delivering Queensland’s COVID-19 recovery plan by creating more Queensland jobs in more industries to future proof our state.
Queensland’s plan is already creating jobs and kick starting Queensland by bringing forward investment in future proofing infrastructure, buying locally in Queensland and supporting Queensland industries and business just like Adnought Sheet Metal,” Ms Lauga said.
“Our plan to unite and recover for Qld jobs will see more opportunities for local business through our 25 per cent procurement target policy.”
Ms Lagua warned there was a long road ahead to recovery.
“We now need to unite to recover and finish the job to kick-start Queensland’s economy together,” she said.
KAP’s five point plan to reduce power prices
- Ban the Optimised Replacement Cost valuation methodology used by Powerlink, Ergon and Energex to save customers $500 million to $1 billion per annum, and permanently put downward pressure on prices;
- Remove the Competitive Neutrality Fee, estimated to permanently reduce prices by at least 10 per cent;
- Remove the unnecessary margins applied by Ergon to the calculation of regulated prices. This will result in an immediate five per cent price reduction for residential and business customers;
- Introduce competition into regional Queensland by allowing any retailer to deliver the state government subsidy (Community Service Obligation) currently only available to the monopoly provider Ergon Energy;
- Put an indefinite freeze on the escalation of transitional tariffs used in irrigation to maintain the competitiveness of our agricultural industry.
These measures will immediately reduce electricity prices and give households and businesses choice where they buy their electricity.