Nth Queensland Federal MP Bob Katter blew several gaskets last night on
Anyone watching Cyclone Bob might have been mistaken to believe that the importation of bananas is a fresh issue. But alas, it is another step in the long walk of protectionism that began afresh in 2000 after the banning of Filipino bananas (the
Cyclone Bob crowed on the
‘Federal Independent MP Bob Katter says
Mr Katter says the banana decision could cost up to 7,000 jobs, many in marginal seats.
"It's dreadful news for the Australian economy, for the people of north
I don’t doubt the 4 000 job losses associated with Cyclone Larry. But it does put into perspective the ‘realism’ of claims that free trade would wipe out 175% more jobs than the actual physical destruction of 90% of Australian banana plantations. Apparently Cyclone Bob comes with a hyperbole warning.
Quarantine is all about risk management. However, if the risk of importing disease is above zero, it does not mean that a blanket ban is appropriate. Where is the detailed economic analysis of the true costs of import bans on bananas (like those done for TCF and motor vehicle tariffs). Experience tells us that there is little doubt that the consumer benefit outweighs the potential Australian producer detriment.
Quarantine restrictions are just another tariff. Unfortunately, the government has been unwilling to perform a true economic analysis on its trade restricting effects. Hopefully Cyclone Bob will quickly pass and we, the consumers, will have access to fresh, cheap and plentiful Filipino bananas.