Charters Towers Crisis Summit

Over two hundred farmers and graziers gathered at Charters Towers Golf Course last Monday in order to attend the Rural Crisis Summit.

The Summit, which primarily focused on Drought and banking solutions, saw some of the biggest names in the rural industry attending and speaking.

Of those names, Bill Byrne’s, Minister for Agriculture, created the largest stir.

Farmers and graziers alike fired questions at the Minister in regards to his future plans for the Agriculture industry, specifically, his plans on creating new dams.

“I can’t make it rain, and if we were to build a dam right now, we’re going to need it to rain to fill a dam,” Bill Byrnes said.

Mr Burns was furthered questioned on police actions, in regards to Police Officers forcibly removing property owners from their homes.

“The Police are acting within the law, and what they are doing is a police service,” Mr Byrns said.

“It is disgraceful for anyone to suggest otherwise.”

Katter Australian Party (KAP) members Robbie and Bob Katter also took the opportunity to question the Minister about the possibility of a reconstruction board going ahead.

A reconstruction board would aid in alleviating rural debt by giving the Reserve Bank of Australia the permission and framework needed to address the needs of farmers and producers.

“It was a disappointing response, in terms of the reconstruction board, which we see as a starting point,” Robbie Katter said.

“We have had commitments from Government to work on this reconstruction board,”

“When it’s delivered, we’re satisfied, until then, we’re very unsatisfied.”

It wasn’t just the fierce questions between the public and parties that had the audience enraptured – Cate Stuart, who was forced off her Mount Morris property, had the audience in tears.

Cate spoke of the day her family packed up to leave her property, and the heart breaking events that occurred as she tried to save her colt.

“Sensing that his owners were stressed, he galloped straight into a steel post in the fence line,

“I ran through the house searching, looking for anything, plain flour just to stem the bleeding, I had nothing but tea towels, I found a needle, some thread… We could try to save him?”

Audience members held back tears as Cate tells of her five and a half year old coming to the realisation that her colt would not make it.

“She knows what those groans mean,” Cate said.

“The effects of this day will never be forgotten, the colt, like the dogs and the herds can never be replaced,”

“The hurt, the anger, the overwhelming frustration and not understanding how it all came to this haunts us,”

“I was a grazier, I am now nothing”

The day ended with a list of over twenty resolutions, suggested by both Government speakers and audience members.

The resolutions will be taken to Government, where decisions on these matters are currently pending.