IN A meeting with the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association (NTCA) today, Prime Minister Julia Gillard received a frank and detailed brief on the state of the northern Australian cattle industry.
During the meeting, NTCA vice president and cattle producer Chris Muldoon painted a stark picture of an industry fighting combined forces of record low prices and volume into the Indonesian market, record low prices on the domestic market and a high Australian dollar.
Coupled with a collapse in confidence and cash flow following the live export trade suspension of 2011, this is “a potent mix” feeding a free fall in land values and rising debt, Mr Muldoon said.
“Right now, the best thing that can happen would be for the Indonesian market to restart, allowing us to fill the natural demand, driven by the prosperity of the Indonesian economy and playing to the synergy of our northern breeding systems and Indonesia’s feedlot sector,” he said.
The meeting included discussion of the federal government response to the current financial crisis across northern Australia, and the region’s very unique characteristics, including the size and scale of operations.
NTCA representatives reinforced the need for government to look at the long-term viability of the northern industry in the context of the Asian Century white paper, regional and Indigenous development and relationships.
“There is not much use talking about the Asian Century if we haven’t got an industry and economy to take part,” said NTCA executive director Luke Bowen.
Mr Bowen said that while the NTCA has been in ongoing discussions with the government over recent months, he expected an imminent announcement detailing a support package for primary producers, suffering under acute financial pressures.
At the meeting Prime Minister Gillard announced federal assistance for the Indonesia Australia Pastoral Student Exchange Program, pioneered in 2012 by the NTCA and about to commence for 2013 with the arrival of students in Darwin on May 1.
The 16 students, from six universities, will spend eight weeks on cattle stations after an initial 10-day intensive induction and training program.
“This program has already seen some heartwarming relationships formed which will endure for the long-term benefit of industry and communities in our two countries,” Mr Bowen said.Source: farm weekly
Published: Zarai Media Team