(Image: AAP/Dave Hunt)

An exclusive, invite-only mini G20 for the agriculture sector to push through policies with a strict attendee list curated by Australia’s richest person, Gina Rinehart. What could go wrong? 

The plan was announced in speeches at the Pastoralists and Graziers Association’s forum and the National Agriculture & Related Industries Day Gala Dinner in Perth yesterday.

“Everyone, please put up your hands if you would also prefer to pay less tax, less loans to pay high taxes and license fees, have less government advice and less government red tape?” the mining magnate implored a room full of Australia’s wealthiest. 

The mini G20, Rinehart said, would be for “owners, chairmen, CEOs and industry-related experts we may choose to invite,” with the purpose of pushing through tax cuts, reducing red tape and allocating more water for farmers. 

“We should prioritise our ‘to be cut list’, pointing out specifically which government tape should go first, and I’d suggest including, the unnecessary shortage of good water in this country,” she said.  

In both speeches, Rinehart contradicted herself by referring to the country’s “abundant sunshine and water” and the “unnecessary shortage of good water,” while also bemoaning the “record drought,” “massive drought” and farmers who have “battled with droughts”. 

She made no mention of the death of 46 protected freshwater sawfish on her property due to low water levels earlier this year, the clearing of 28 hectares of wetlands for a coal terminal by the Great Barrier Reef marine park, or her company’s plan to tap into the Fitzroy River, a plan environment groups say would lead to a “Murray-Darling style disaster”.

“Imagine what we could do in our industry, with tax and government tape cuts, more water, and having more say on where our own hard-earned money is invested,” she said.

Just imagine. 

Peter Fray

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