Winton's emotional last stand

Winton's emotional last stand

The crowd of close to 250 at Winton's Last Stand.

The crowd of close to 250 at Winton's Last Stand.


FEDERAL Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has urged the crowd at Winton's Last Stand today to "not to scare the horses".


FEDERAL Agricultural Minister Barnaby Joyce flatly turned down the call from Katter's Australian Party for an Australian Reconstruction and Development Board at Friday's rural debt crisis summit in Winton, saying he had "Buckley's chance" of getting it through.

Instead, he urged the crowd of 250 "not to scare the horses".

"The signs ahead for beef prices aren't signs of collapse," Mr Joyce said.

"We are doing things that will bring real dollars back to people's pockets."

The Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter, one of the organisers of the meeting dubbed Winton's Last Stand, urged the sometimes emotional crowd to continue their fight for a reconstruction bank and a four month moratorium on bank foreclosures on debt.

"Barnaby has said he's got another $100 million of cheap money for people - why would you make money out of people at this time?" Mr Katter said.

"I was the minister responsible for rescuing the sugar industry - it can be done."

He said that if the reconstruction board plan wasn't implemented, one in 10 stations in the north would be sold up, waters and properties would fall into disrepair, and cattle would die in numbers not seen before, "all at a time when China needs more cattle than ever".

"What will a rural reconstruction bank do that we're not already doing?": Barnaby Jones at Winton

Priest who rang the alarm bells on rural debt, Fr Matt Moloney, in the front row at Winton Last Stand

Among those saying not enough was being done by the government to help a distressed beef industry was Australian Cane Farmers Association director Margaret Menzel.

"We can't afford our water and electricity bills to do our work, but we could if the government reduced the price," she said. "Australia was built on us not corporate multi-national pirates."

A perceived lack of representation by industry bodies was mentioned by various speakers and AgForce president Grant Maudsley answered it by saying it was easy to whip up a storm but harder to find a solution that doesn't impact others.

"A moratorium would force banks to charge higher interest in other areas," Mr Maudsley said.

"We represent a lot of people, and what we've asked Barnaby for, we've got, if not as much as we'd like."


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