Article – Abbott reveals plan26 June 2013
The State Government has already hopped on the food bowl bandwagon, recently granting water licences for potential producers along the Flinders River near Hughenden.
The food bowl will also involve the harnessing of water from the Burdekin River and the Ord River in Western Australia.
LNP candidate for Kennedy, Noeline Ikin, believes the Coalition’s plan will result in large benefits for the region.
“We have to capitalise on Northern Australia’s existing strengths and natural advantages in agriculture, cattle and energy and to seize opportunities in tourism, education and health services,” she said.
“When you build a stronger economy, it means more jobs, higher incomes and better infrastructure and better services.”
However Federal member for Kennedy Bob Katter has dismissed the plans as simply “pre-election lip service” and believes it lacks any financial backing.
“We applaud the rhetoric but remain extremely cynical about the chances of reality,” Mr Katter said.
“The LNP was in power for 12 years and never built a kiddies wading pool let alone a dam (in the Burdekin River).
“Now the election has been called they have come out making all sorts of promises to mask their prior failures,” he said.
Other plans outlined in the document include growing the tourist economy in Northern Australia to two million international tourists annually and building an energy export industry worth $150 billion to the economy.
The export energy industry will have a major focus on clean and efficient energy and provide major increases to resource exports.
Mr Abbott dismissed concerns the damming of the Burdekin River will have woeful environmental consequences.
“I accept there is an environmental consequence to dams but I think all of us would agree that if they are the right dams in the right places the environmental consequences are well and truly manageable,” he said.
Details of the increased tax zone rebates remain scarce, however, Mr Abbott said the Coalition will review the current rebate scheme.
“There has been a zonal tax rebate in operation for many years,” Mr Abbott said.