Fight for the Graziers

The grazing industry, like other primary industries, is vulnerable to government decisions and natural disasters. A good advocate for the northern grazing industry is needed where it counts – where the actual decisions are made. I intend to fight for this industry where the real battle belongs, in the rooms that the government decisions are made and with the bureaucracy. Katter says a lot in the media, and usually after things are already bad. We often agree with what’s put up in print, but we rarely see it make a difference. This is the point of difference between Katter and me. I intend to do the hard work in the ‘backyards’ which is where the ‘real action’ happens and where the real difference can be made. I will also react early to pending issues. I won’t be asleep at the wheel or absent when legislation is discussed, or more importantly, when actual votes are made. Katter has been absent or voted with labour for 65% of the total votes over this last term of government. I would have an ‘inside influence’ in government and a relentless energy to tidy up the decisions that impact us within bureaucracy. Kennedy deserves to ‘be in government’ and Kennedy needs someone to do the ‘hard work’ to clean up bureaucracy and the misuse of science. This is what I am about and I seek your support to do it. And don’t worry guys, I can put up a bloody good fight and already have many wins!

How I see it at the moment
The grazing industry has had a series of blows over the last few years across the north western region. We’ve weathered the 2008 GFC, the massive 2009 floods, the 2010 cyclone Yasi, the 2011 Live Export Ban, the 2012 fires, the 2012 BJD, and now a 2013 drought and still unresolved BJD issue. While the natural disasters had huge impacts, the Live Export Ban is something I personally can never forgive the ALP government for implementing. Kevin Rudd or Julia Gillard – doesn’t make any difference to me, they have all voted for policies and decisions that are hurting the industry and the region. The grazing industry is a foundation of our northern and western economy and our social and cultural fabric. Our towns are also suffering from the Live Export Ban with sales and services significantly reduced. I have visited many towns in the north, including my home town of Georgetown. Without a doubt everybody has been impacted by the Live Export ban. Our region has so much to offer our children, and this ALP government has instead ‘borrowed’ from their future potential and reduced the ability we have as parents to provide for them. We have to through pure persistence and innovation turn this around. It is the grazing industry issues that convinced me to run for the seat of Kennedy for the coalition at the next Federal Election. Times are tough and things have to change with the times. 1|Page Noeline Ikin position on northern grazing industry

How can I go about it?
I feel it’s time to get back to the old style politics, where being a politician is being in service to the public rather than a stage show. I would not ‘be the voice’ but instead ‘carry the voice’ of our locals. I have the greatest respect and care for hardworking and innovative people, I believe local people have local solutions and I believe in the bright future we can have. Government and bureaucrats don’t normally try to make stupid decisions or cause harm. It’s just that they often don’t have the life experience or confidence that comes from that life experience to make the right decisions. Lack of confidence breeds reports and plans, shortness of time (usually due to the ‘next’ election) breeds poor science and fear of retribution breeds ‘closed’ processes. I know with confidence that over half of the problems, unnecessary costs and frustrations come from bureaucracy. Where it seems that there is a ‘block’ at every path. I would tackle this bureaucracy, which is much harder work than putting out a media release or raising a question in parliament. However, this build-up of ‘rubbish in regulation’ is pulling everybody under across most industries and regional towns. We have to get common sense into decision making, we have to make sure local people are part of the discussions, including challenging the science and the way it is misused, and getting integrity and field work back into the science that our taxes pay so much for. I support the small family business and the small family property – not just the big guys. I value the social and cultural benefits this brings to our lives. These ideas below are ones I have heard supported by locals to the grazing industry in Kennedy, and ones which I believe are achievable. I am always open to new ideas and practical approaches to improve our wellbeing. We need to tackle Rural Debt –bearing in mind the factors that have got us into this position 1. Work with banks for solutions: In the short term I will work hard to bring the banking sector together with graziers to discuss options such as quarantining a percentage of debt to ensure grazing businesses maintain operating capital and are able to properly care for livestock and property infrastructure. There is a risk of some grazing businesses running down herd health and fertility, and the infrastructure/ machinery on properties. If these assets are run down, the equity crash in the northern grazing industry will only get worse. Rather than flog the issue in the media, further reducing overall confidence in the industry, I would work with the people and banks in our region to jointly agree to urgent and practical steps. 2. Model the tax credit trade option: I will continue to lobby hard within the coalition government to undertake the Department of Treasury modelling of the Tax Credit Trade idea, born from graziers in the gulf region and disregarded by Bob Katter. This concept was conceived by Ian Tincknell and has been run by and supported by two eminent professors of economics and agriculture as a viable solution. While I was still working with the Northern Gulf Resource Management Group we gained wide support from the industry and at this stage the banks are being quiet but not one of them have said it is a bad idea or indicated that they would not participate. We simply seek for the modelling to be done to demonstrate the benefits or risks of this as a viable solution. 2|Page Noeline Ikin position on northern grazing industry

The Tax Credit Trade concept:  At the moment when businesses are in trouble they generally trade at a loss, and accumulated tax losses are recognised by the ATO. Businesses are able to offset future taxes payable to the ATO using these accumulated tax losses.  The Tax Credit Trade concept will only come into play when there is an equity crash, and where it is in the businesses, banks and governments best interest to implement the trade.  When the Tax Credit Trade is implemented, businesses are allowed to trade their accumulated tax losses their bank to reduce their debt. So if a business has $100,000 of accumulated tax loss they trade this accumulated tax loss with the bank to reduce their debt by $100,000.  The bank then 'uses' this accumulated tax loss that they have traded to offset their own tax. The bank would not get a 100% offset. Thus if the traded tax loss from the business was $100,000 the tax offset would only be worth around $70,000 for the bank. The bank losses $30,000 in the trade.  Therefore this concept will only work when circumstances give bear to an equity crash, where banks loose more through multiple forced foreclosures than what they would through the implementation of the Tax Credit Trade concept.

3. Improve debt approval methods: Banks, graziers and government R&D investment needs to improve the property valuation tools behind rural lending to better reflect the capacity of rural land to earn and repay debt based on land potential and best practice and not be prejudiced by inflated land sales. I will work within government to illustrate how data and information to support these tools could be generated by existing government departments and programs without ‘new money’. 4. R&D for profitability: I will also work hard to build an understanding on why existing federal government R&D and extension funds should be focussed much more on profitability for primary industry and not just environmental outcomes. As they say “you cannot be in the ‘green’ if you are in the ‘red’”.

We need to improve the Terms of Trade – rural industries need to be profitable The whole reason I joined the Liberal National Coalition is because of the underlying philosophy of supporting profit. Through profit comes public revenue from taxes that can then be distributed for wider public benefit. 5. Carbon tax removal: I will wholeheartedly support the removal of the carbon tax which left unchecked will not only continue to increase the price of electricity but also the cost of transport – a vital expense in the rural industries and regional communities. The carbon tax is a cumulative tax, which means we pay it many times over through the commodities we buy including urea and protein supplements, steel and cement. 3|Page Noeline Ikin position on northern grazing industry

6. Zone rebate review: I will wholeheartedly advocate for a review of the zone rebate for areas such as Kennedy to make the wages provided by rural and small businesses in the north more competitive – helping to alleviate the shortage of skills and workers. This needs a lot of work to package it up as a national wealth creation objective – not just a tax break. We need to demonstrate that the rural and small businesses of Kennedy are the start of a greater wealth potential for the nation by building the foundations of our countries future food, education and health opportunities with the growing population and wealth of our Asian neighbours. 7. Fuel rebate needs to stay: I will strongly advocate that the fuel rebate remains in place for rural industries. 8. Better Trade Agreements: Both Tony Abbott, Julie Bishop and John Cobb have indicated that they will ensure that the relationship with Indonesia and the Live Export market of cattle will be high on the priority list for international relations, and they have said one of their first overseas visits. Additionally the trade agreement with China will be a high priority along with agreements with Korea. I will work hard to keep the rural industries in Kennedy informed of all developments and aim to ensure that the local voice and implications of such agreements on the beef trade are well heard by the decision makers. 9. Water Storage Developments: I strongly support the Northern Australian focus by the Coalition Government, including increased water storage. I will work closely with local people with the pending water storage and irrigation developments that are intended to create diversity in income and improved services in the Kennedy electorate. With every change comes winners and losers, my intention is to minimise the losses and ensure local people are closely informed and participating in these major developments. 10. Risk better evaluated reducing insurance: The cost for insurance on most grazing properties has become totally irrational and not based on reasonable risk. I would work very hard to redirect existing government programs to assess flood risk and potentially other natural disaster risks using modern tools and data along with local knowledge. Given that for most grazing businesses the insurance does not cover the greatest asset –the commercial herd – I would strongly advocate that insurance companies and groups of graziers re-negotiate premiums based on better risk models and management which should save the average property $10,000 per annum. 11. Native Title respondent funding: I will advocate for the financial support to be returned through the Native Title Tribunal to graziers to negotiate ILUA’s to allow for the fair and equitable finalisation of Native Title claims. The legal support, mostly paid to Agforce as the representative of most graziers, was removed recently. Meaning that the full cost of the ILUA negotiations for graziers must be met by graziers. In Kennedy, many ‘determinations’ are just being declared, meaning that just when we need assistance it has been taken away. 12. MLA Levy expenditure: Across the electorate I have heard that many graziers are concerned with the direction of MLA. I would call for regional meetings and seek from graziers their opinion on levy fund expenditure. It seems that for many family owned businesses there is a significant gap between the research findings and the ability of grazing businesses to adopt new technology and increase profitability. Therefore, would the grazing industry benefit from a greater proportion of resources directed to in-field support and application of research?

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Noeline Ikin position on northern grazing industry

We need to ensure the Long Term Sustainability of food production – our life’s essentials 13. Landcare and GABSI: I will work very hard and advocate for ongoing Landcare and GABSI type funds that assist with weed, pest, erosion, pasture and great artesian bore management outcomes. I will also strongly advocate for support through existing government budgets to see funds supporting the land type, infrastructure and feed on offer mapping that underpins best practice decisions and the ability to calculate paddock by paddock grazing value of that land. By government investing in this underlying information not only are landholders benefiting with information to assist grazing decisions, but data can be developed in such a way as to provide far better third party acknowledgement of future potential land use value for agriculture. This would provide a fairer position for landholders in negotiating compensation should mining or conservation tenures be enforced in the future. At the moment, graziers are on the back foot without the ability to prove current and future land use values, and many are not being compensated fairly. 14. Strengthen biosecurity: I will strongly advocate and ensure that biosecurity is strengthened given Kennedy’s close proximity to foot and mouth, screw worm fly and many other biosecurity risks. I will support the ongoing blue tongue research which could be essential if trade agreements with China include North Queensland Live Export Trade. We need to reduce the Red Tape – regulate for the sake of outcomes not bureaucracy 15. Science expenditure: I will relentlessly pursue the government’s science expenditure to increase value for industry as the end user. I believe that too much science is desktop and has large error margins. The use of this in policy and legislation causes perverse outcomes and costs for the grazing industry. Much of this science has been ‘used’ to shift the costs of caring for the environment from the public to the landholder unfairly. 16. Red tape reduction: The Abbott government has made it very clear that there will be a strong focus on red-tape reduction. I will call regular meetings with locals as well as industry bodies and local governments to identify what red-tape is blocking the industry’s capability. From these meetings I will ensure that the practical issues faced by people in Kennedy are tabled at every sitting period of government. I will continue the work I have started in reducing the red tape with Lease Renewals and access to veterinary drugs, but if elected will have a better platform to get this work through with bureaucracies.

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Noeline Ikin position on northern grazing industry