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One way track to agricultural oblivion.

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Senator Len Harris One Nation Queensland

One way track to agricultural oblivion

9 December 2004

The arrival of the first Shanghai to Darwin direct ship and the utilisation of the Darwin to Adelaide railway to transport its products is a one way track to agricultural oblivion for Australia.

The new high speed link will also cause massive unemployment on the wharves in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. There will no longer be any necessity for Patrick style strike breaking operations, as the other ports will become obsolete. The wharfies can thank their Labor parliamentarians for railroading their industry and jobs into oblivion.

Last week, 250 containers containing mostly agricultural chemicals, industrial valves and retail merchandise made their way from Shanghai to the port of Darwin. This is the first test run of a system which will become a fast track trade route to bring goods from China to Australia.

The Northern Territory’s Chief Minister Clare Martin was quoted by the ABC as saying:

“The new trade route through Darwin is exactly what was envisaged for the port and railway. It's a start on what's really going to start the trade route, to be able to bring goods from China, which exports so much to Australia."

This was previously predicted in Senator Harris’s media statement: China Free Trade Deal by 2005, issued on May 21. It said:

“The Darwin to Adelaide railway will play a critical role in any FTA with China. Darwin will become a gateway for imports from Asia. Large retailers and supermarkets save around 10% by using train freight instead of road freight and would fast track the rise of huge agribusiness conglomerates in the region."

Many people think China is an agricultural backwater, but with its accession into the WTO, rural China is gearing up for a huge agricultural revolution. A constant supply of cheap labour, the introduction of precision farming techniques and a plentiful supply of water via the Three Gorges project means China could easily dominate agricultural production of labour intensive commodities.

China’s agricultural exports rose to $15.4 billion in 2003. Statistics from the US Department of Agriculture indicate that the export of edible fruits, nuts and vegetables have almost doubled since 2000. Other growth sectors were pork, dairy, eggs and honey.


We can’t stop globalisation and free trade, but we need to learn to manage it better. Politicians must look at the massive dislocation that has already occurred in our manufacturing and farming sector and ensure that Australia does not lose the capacity to feed our nation in the long term.

Food self sufficiency - the ability to grow food here in Australia - is an important component of our national security. The current trading environment favours food security - buy it anywhere and import it cheaply. The trend towards food security is

extremely dangerous considering the global instability in world oil supplies and the changing international security environment.

The Darwin to Adelaide railway will not only serve as a freight link to South Australia but also Northern Queensland and Western Australia, giving China and other countries a network for direct distribution.

It’s simply a matter of flooding the market with imported goods. Witness our clothing and footwear industry. And our seafood industry, flooded with cheap Chinese prawns that are farmed using high levels of antibiotics. Cheap prawn imports have caused the collapse of many small family businesses and Queensland coastal prawning communities.

You may scoff at the thought that Australia would ever import lettuce, tomatoes, mangos, pineapples, beef or chicken from China - but the idea that we would import household white goods and clothes from China was once a flight of the imagination too.


Further Details: Senator Len Harris 0429 817 008 or 07 4092 3194.