Opposition to meet with scientists over food plans for Top End

Coalition finance spokesperson Andrew Robb says a report on increasing agricultural production in the Top End was “highjacked” by the Greens.

In 2009, a government taskforce found that the one million gigalitres of rainfall across the north each year could be better captures and utilised, as much of it evaporates and that many agricultural areas were not viable due to soil types.

"That report was in my view hijacked by the Greens," Robb said told AAP.

"We have a moral right to make the most of the great potential of this country.

"If we can feed 120 million people, we have a moral right and a moral obligation to do so," he said.

Robb will sit meet with scientists on Friday to discuss plans to turn northern Australia into a food bowl for Asian countries.

The Coalition wants to set aside parts of the region for agricultural developments in a move it believes would double food production.

A university researcher believes Australia should concentrate more on sharing expertise on farming than on exporting food products, as the cost of export will be so high.

As head of the Coalition policy development taskforce on the issue, Robb will sit down with representatives from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) on Friday to discuss water issues and other aspects of the plan.

He believes that 50 to 100 years from now, major cities will exist on Australia’s northern coast.

Image: Travelettes

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