Australian pork producers cannot compete with imported pig meat from Canada, yet our Government, despite being able to help according to the GATT rules, will do absolutely nothing to save the Australian pig industry from complete destruction.
Queensland Pork Producers Organisation figures show that from January last year, the farmgate price for Queensland bacon has dropped 40% from around Au$2.70 a kilo to Au$1.55 a kilo - the lowest price in ten years. The situation in South Australia is even worse, with the current farmgate price at only Au$1.28 a kilo.
With production costing Au$2 per kilo, returns to pork producers have plummeted to their lowest level in years, and the worst is yet to come. No-one knows how low prices will fall, and no-one can predict how many Australian piggeries will be bankrupted as a result, but with the typical Queensland piggery now losing over Au$1,000 a week, 75% of the industry is under threat, and in Queensland alone, three hundred piggeries are in danger of closing.
The Australian Pork Corporation figures show that although producers are on the brink of being wiped out by cheap subsidised imports, no savings have been passed on to the Australian consumer. The fact is retail prices for pork products have remained virtually unchanged.
Free trade is taking income from battling Australian farmers and country towns, and giving it to foreign farmers, and the big business supermarkets, who instead of passing savings on to the Australian people, simply pocket profits from the misery of our homegrown industries.
Under Article 6 of the Agreement on Safeguards section of the Uruguay Round Agreement on GATT, the Australian government can stop the importation of pork because it is causing demonstrable damage to the Australian pork industry. Yet despite this facility the government stands as uncaring spectators to the devastating of this industry and thousands of rural families.
Following our success in the last election, One Nation will force the government to correct these treacherous acts. One Nation rejects as false the supposed benefits of free trade and the inappropriately named level playing field. We will always promote policies that look after Australian industries and the Australian people. The others can fend for themselves.
Statement issued by Pauline Hanson MP, member for Oxley