Fed Nats in WA

01 Mar, 2013 01:00 AM
Member for O'Connor Tony Crook (left) with Queensland senator Barnaby Joyce in Corrigin last week.
Member for O'Connor Tony Crook (left) with Queensland senator Barnaby Joyce in Corrigin last week.

NATIONAL Party heavyweights Barnaby Joyce and Tony Crook have thrown their support behind Brendon Grylls and his party in the lead up to the State election.

Mr Joyce and Mr Crook were in WA last week helping The Nationals WA with its election campaign and hit back at recent suggestions the party had neglected its regional roots.

"I don't think they have been neglected by the State," Mr Crook said.

"Royalties for Regions is the regional policy of envy across Australia and Barnaby has seen first-hand what it has done."

Mr Crook, who will be fighting for his own survival in September, said recent comments by former Nationals WA leader Hendy Cowan were "complete nonsense".

"There is an argument around Tier 3 lines and that is where the biggest angst has come from and they have got every right to be miffed about it to be honest," he said.

"But if anybody thinks that the two major political parties, the Coles and Woolworths as Barnaby calls them, are going to fix Tier 3 they are on another planet."

Queensland National Mr Joyce summed up the feelings of the State election for people in regional WA saying the recent debate between the two major party leaders - Colin Barnett and Mark McGowan - showed there was no discussion on regional issues.

"I turn on the TV last night and this is the big debate about politics going forward and there is a big debate going on in Perth about the Elizabeth Quay - I mean who gives a sh*t," Mr Joyce said.

"I mean here in Corrigin - who gives a toss!

"To the people in Kalgoorlie, what on earth does that mean?

"Nobody in Esperance brought it up with me, nobody in Bindoon brought it up with me, it is a big issue for Perth and what happens if you lose the National Party is that you won't have a government for WA, you will have a government for Perth, dealing with issues for Perth."

Both Mr Joyce and Mr Crook believed WA Labor's recent decision to preference the Liberal Party ahead of the Nationals in six out of 17 seats including Agriculture and Food Minister Terry Redman's seat of Warren-Blackwood and in what is expected to be a tightly contested seat of Central Wheatbelt, was a backhanded compliment to the good work the Nationals had been doing.

"We are a nuisance," Mr Crook said.

"We have taken money out of their coffers that they wanted to put into Perth projects.

"That is what it means."

Mr Joyce said if the Liberal or Labor Party won some of Nationals' seats, it would mean Perth had won.

"We will go back to a two-party system and the reason why Brendon Grylls and Wendy Duncan left the coalition was because they got sick of going into a metro party room and getting done by the numbers," Mr Crook said.

Both said rural debt was clearly an issue, not just in WA but regional Australia and Mr Joyce said there needed to be a strong policy debate on what the solutions are.

"I don't pretend to be a fountain of all wisdom as to what the solutions are," he said.

"But you hear discussions about State-based banks as a mechanism to get fairer competition on a loan program back to farmers.

"I used to work for the Queensland Industry Development Corporation and we did that and not only did we do that we made money for the State doing that.

"That might not be the area, there are other areas which need to be discussed as well.

"One of the problems people have in farm debt is that they are not getting a fair price at the farm gate and that is something we have to be looking at as well.

"I mean dairy farmers, they are saying of course we are going to have debt - you are selling milk for a dollar a litre."

Mr Joyce said he supported the Australian Corruption and Crime Commission (ACCC) doing another investigation into the industry.

"There not only has to be another investigation but an investigation with a response," he said.

"An investigation so that laws are changed that brings about the removal of unconscionable conduct, we have got unconscionable conduct laws but it doesn't stop unconscionable conduct.

"We need to look at how we need to restructure to make farms viable."

Mr Crook said Crop Mitigation Insurance would hopefully go some way in assisting farmers to dealing with debt, but admitted he was still unsure as to what role Federal Government would play.

"I will be taking this issue and others to Canberra in a fortnight when we meet as a party for a brainstorm and I will be raising it in that forum," he said.



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