Trio wants balance of power to save rural industries
THE Wide Bay electorate is one Katter's Australian Party leader Bob Katter thinks he can win, come the Federal Election on September 7.
It will be a big ask for the fledgling party - Nationals leader Warren Truss has held the seat for more than 20 years and won comfortably at the last poll.
Mr Katter, MP for Kennedy, was in Mary St Wednesday pressing the flesh, alongside his Wide Bay candidate Gordon Dale and Senate candidate Shane Paulger.
The trio hopes to win office and hold the balance of power to enable them to implement their plan to save rural industries in the region. Top of the list is the dairy industry, which they credit Mr Truss with helping destroy.
The Katter plan is to have an arbitrated price for milk to give farmers certainty in the future and make the industry viable again.
They say it will reinvigorate the Mary Valley.
Mr Paulger, a dairy farmer, said the demise of the industry had taken hundreds of millions of dollars a year out of towns like Gympie and both major parties had done nothing to stop it.
"The person most responsible is Warren Truss," Mr Paulger said. "He did nothing to stop it."
He said it wasn't just the dairy industry but other rural industries that suffered as a result of major party policies.
To help growers KAP also plans to put a 10% customs duty on all imports, to protect rural industries.
Another plan to help sugarcane growers in the electorate is to start up more ethanol-producing sugar mills, which would also help lower the price of fuel.
They plan for one of these mills to be built to the south of Gympie, possibly in the Mary Valley.
Mr Katter said one of the biggest misconceptions about his party was it was giving preferences to the Labor Party.
He said forces within the Coalition had been spreading the rumours because they were worried about KAP taking crucial votes.
Mr Katter said his party had a preference deal with the Palmer United Party, not the Labor Party.
"We are confident we can take Wide Bay," Mr Katter said. "Polling is showing we are very close."
He said Mr Truss had plenty of time to make things happen in his electorate.
"How much has he got down in his time?" Mr Katter asked.
"And he is a heavyweight in the party."