Federal member for Kennedy Bob Katter has used a visit to Mornington Island on Wednesday to call for community support for a market garden on the island.
Mr Katter held a public meeting on the island in the Gulf of Carpentaria where a show of hands supported Mr Katter in his call for a market garden.
He showed the meeting a copy of a letter he had received from Prime Minister Scott Morrison from November last year which said the government would work with communities like Mornington Island and Yarrabah to set up market gardens as part of the plans for "economic and health opportunities".
The prime minister promised $5 million for the proposal.
However when Mr Katter spoke to the PM's office last week about the status of the plan, he said he was told they had received letters saying the community was against the idea.
"That's why I'm here, to find out from the community directly whether they support a market garden," Mr Katter said.
Around 50 to 60 people attended the meeting at the festival grounds and there was unanimous support for his proposal.
Mr Katter said life expectancy on Mornington Island was 53 years of age compared to 83 in the wider Australian community with malnutrition a major contributor to the death toll and issues like diabetes and renal failure were attributable to poor diet.
"We know people are dying and we want the market garden back," he said.
He said fruit and veg on the island was grown in places like Mareeba and Tully, then shipped to Brisbane and then Cairns before going to Mornington Island.
That meant islanders were paying exorbitant amounts for freight and by the time it arrived on the island it was no longer fresh.
Mr Katter said a few years ago he came to Mornington Island with businessman Dick Smith who donated $3000 to start a market garden on the island.,
"I want to know what happened to that $3000," he said.
Neither the Mayor of Mornington Shire, Bradley Wilson, nor the CEO Frank Mills attended the meeting to answer Mr Katter's queries however the North West Star spoke to Mr Mills.
He said Council was not opposed to the idea of a market garden but he questioned whether the community would be able to maintain it once up and running.
Mr Mills also said the $3000 donated by Mr Smith was spent on tree planting during Mr Smith's visit and elsewhere on the island.
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