KENNEDY MP, Bob Katter has questioned the Australian Government why it is not delivering on the long promised market garden for Mornington island.
Mr Katter was speaking after a plea from Mornington Shire mayor Kyle Yanner to address a health and welfare crisis on the island, and following revelations Mornington Island residents have extreme rates of diabetes, malnutrition, and overcrowding - resulting in a lower life expectancy than the rest of Australia.
Mr Katter has long championed community market gardens as a simple way to improve the health standards of First Australians by providing cheap locally grown fresh produce to tackle the diabetes epidemic.
Mr Katter has submitted a question with notice to the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, and Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Ken Wyatt, regarding an unfulfilled promise to build community market gardens at Mornington Island.
"The situation on Mornington Island is a national shame. Diabetes and malnutrition mean residents have a far lower life expectancy than the rest of Australia," he said.
"In 2018 I received a promise off the Prime Minister for community market gardens. This would allow fresh fruit and vegetables to be grown in the community.
"This promise has not been delivered. Mornington Island Mayor, Kyle Yanner will join me in Canberra next week to get this over the line. We cannot forget our First Australians."
Mr Katter cited examples of his trips to Aboriginal communities 30 years ago where the malnutrition problems of today simply did not exist.
"Diabetes is just another name for malnutrition," he said.
"If First Australians want fresh fruit and vegetables, they have to buy them from the mainland, but they do not have enough money.
"I've said time and time again that market gardens must be reopened, and I pay tribute to Dick Smith - the only person who has acted on this in the last decade. Mayor Kyle Yanner of the Mornington Island Council is also a real fighter and is showing immense courage."
Bob's Question with Notice:
MR KATTER: To ask the Prime Minister-In respect of recent media reports which highlights that Mornington Island (a typical Cape York/Gulf community) has life expectancy half that of other Australians:
(1) Is it a fact that in 1993 the incoming Queensland state Labor Government abolished market gardens.
(2) Is it a fact that the federal Liberal Government banned Torres Straits' backyard vegetables gardens.
(3) Who is the Minster that is stopping market gardens, which you promised to me 3 years ago.
(4) Will the Prime Minister deliver on his promise before the Queensland Premier does during her visit to Mornington Island.