The proposed $30 million cotton gin in Katherine won more support today.
The Country Liberal Party has joined Territory Alliance in promising to support the building of the cotton gin which farmers say is necessary to help establish the broadacre crop in the Top End.
Opposition leader Lia Finocchiaro said released the CLP's agriculture policy today.
The election promise fell short of the $10 million needed from the public purse to help build the cotton gin, the CLP said it would "facilitate" and "help deliver" its construction.
Territory Alliance was more specific, actually listing the $10 million spend.
But support for cotton comes despite significant opposition to the crop.
Conservationists today issued yet another warning to Territorian taxpayers not to let the cotton industry use public funds.
"We know that the cotton industry wants to establish large-scale operations in the Northern Territory. If this is allowed to proceed, we'll see bushland bulldozed and water extracted from already stretched supplies," Jason Fowler, from Environment Centre NT, said.
"This is just the start. Once cotton gets established, the cotton industry and irrigators push harder and harder for more land and more water for more cotton fields."
Mrs Finocchiaro said a CLP Government would:
- Facilitate the construction of a commercial cotton gin in Katherine to support the development of a well-regulated, water-efficient dryland cotton farming, processing and manufacturing industry in the Territory.
- Support the development and delivery of Douglas Daly Stage 2, which incorporates approximately 60,000 hectares of arable or semi-arable land in the east central portion of the Daly Basin, utilising zero-tillage and ley farming technologies, along with irrigation efficiency to conserve water usage.
- Support the release of Keep Plains Agriculture Development, Wildman and Larrimah Agricultural Precincts.
- Provide $250,000 to NT Farmers to develop a business case for the agricultural development of Gunn Point for cropping of dragon fruit, mangoes, citrus, avocadoes, bananas and other potential commercial products.
- Support the creation of a forestry hub for the Northern Territory and contribute $100,000 in funding to promote industry development and R&D activities.
- Support the live cattle industry by providing $250,000 in funding for a marketing study to expand existing markets and explore new markets for Territory exports.
- Investigate solutions to address cattle rustling and increase enforcement actions in consultation with the Police, the Northern Territory Police Association and the Department of Primary Industries and Resources.
- Support and expand initiatives to promote community agriculture programs in remote areas, including Central Australia, to create capacity for employment and the provision of local produce to market.
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