Tuesday, 13 October 2015
Live Animal Exports
That the Senate notes:
(a) the approval of Port Alma as a live cattle export facility;
(b) the benefits of providing new export options to producers and the cattle industry in central Queensland;
(c) that in 2014-15, the live cattle export industry contributed $1.4 billion to Australia's economy; and
(d) that lowering transport costs, by providing local export options in addition to the highly important processing industry, will deliver better returns to central Queensland cattle producers by giving access to more markets.
This motion again represents the Nationals' failures to stand up for farming communities to lock in a jobs-rich future for them. The deception lies in the figures themselves. I am disputing not the figures that are there but the figures that are left out, because the live export trade represents just 0.4 per cent of Australia's trade exports. It is the chilled box meat trade that is worth 12 times more, and that is where the jobs growth could occur in rural Australia. If the Nationals would stand up for farming communities to create jobs, they could be created across northern Australia by opening the abattoirs, and that is what is so urgently needed. The growth in trade in this sector in the chilled box meat trade, which is growing at an exponential rate, with beef and sheep way ahead of the live export trade. (Time expired)
I would like to focus on some figures too. The figure I would like to focus on is the price of beef in this country—the price of live weighed cattle—which fell to nearly 200c a kilo in 2013 directly as a consequence of the decisions of the Greens-Labor government, which shut down the live cattle trade and caused pain not just for live cattle producers in northern Australia but for the cattle industry across the country. Since this government has come to power and reintroduced the live cattle trade, opening up seven new live cattle markets, the price has gone to nearly 600c a kilogram for live weighed. What is the difference? It is the live cattle market. The problem with the Greens is that they do not understand markets. They do not understand the fact that, if you shut down industry in one part of our country, it can have ramifications for the entire nation. We saw that played out with the live cattle trade. We have had an experiment. Let's hope the Greens and the Labor Party do not get back into government to do that experiment to the cattle industry again.