Doomadgee community garden hero a muse for feds on market gardens

Aug 23, 2022

Doomadgee community garden hero a muse for feds on market gardens

Aug 23, 2022

KENNEDY MP, Bob Katter, has applauded the assiduous green thumb of Doomadgee resident, John McCracken, for establishing his own i community garden, and is calling on the Federal Government to look to Mr McCracken for guidance on how to get the market gardens restored across the remaining communities.

Mr Katter said that it was extraordinary that what Mr McCracken had done in less than year was what the Federal Government had been “working on” for the better part of four and a half years.

“John McCracken deserves a knighthood, a Victoria Cross and an AO, because he has done in six months, more than what the Federal Government could do in four and a half years!,”

Mr Katter said. “I got agreement on the money for Market Gardens four and a half years ago and there is still not a single market garden in any of Queensland’s 28 First Australian communities.

“To contain my rage at the hypocrisy of State and Federal Politicians mouthing drivel about how we respect the custodians of the land etc etc… when First Australians living on their own lands are still not allowed to have freehold title. In fact, any real private title deeds whatsoever, so they can’t actually own land or work it.

“When the much-maligned Bjelke-Petersen Country Party was in power before 1990, there were market gardens in every community and every backyard in the Torres Strait had its own fruit and vegetable garden, and well as every island having its own commercial fishing freezer sheds. I’d once travel to these areas and not eat a single grocery item. We would be fed entirely on produce grown and caught in the region.

“Now, these have all been abolished by Government fiat and it is not an exaggeration to say that our First Australians are dying of malnutrition imposed upon them by successive Federal and State Governments starving them of fresh fruit and vegetables.”

Mr Katter said that without Title Deeds, First Nations people are not permitted to own or build a house nor work or use the land.

“They have had all their rights to quarrying taken off them and they are not allowed to access the timber, or water for development. They are the only group of people on earth that I know of that aren’t allowed to drink alcohol. In fact, if they drink alcohol, they get a criminal charge, which then means they can’t get a blue card and can’t get a government job.”

Mr Katter said that the North Queensland towns of Ayr, Tully, Atherton, Mareeba and Bowen are known to be a key food bowl for Australia. He said that this fresh produce gets sent to Brisbane and back before it gets shipped, meaning it arrives to community grocers with limited shelf life

“Quite extraordinarily, our produce is taken to Brisbane and then returned to supermarket warehouses in North Queensland. A costly 4,000km round trip. To take it from Cairns to the 28 community areas takes on average, another fortnight so the produce has more than doubled in cost and has all but lost its shelf life – it is over-ripe at best when it arrives.

“Dick Smith and ‘Macka on Sunday’ went up to the communities where he made a generous donation to get the market gardens started again, raising the flag on malnutrition rates. It is only a matter of time before the life expectancy figures became public knowledge.

“For our First Australians, it is 54 years of age – other Australians, live to 82. There is a very ugly word to describe what is going on here and it will be used, and Australia will become the South Africa of the 22nd century. We will become a pariah nation and we will be spat upon. And quite frankly, except for the odd, wonderful heroes like John McCracken and Dick Smith, quite frankly we as a nation deserve every inch of that condemnation.

“God bless John McCracken. I have already had discussions with Albanese since the election where I said that I believed that this nation has no greater priority then restoring those market gardens which once protected the people from annihilation, through providing nutrition and diet.

“I will be discussing this with John McCracken and encouraging him to interface with the Government directly. If they can’t get those market gardens in, then the PM can pay John to do it.”