AUSTRALIAN cattle producers have welcomed the swearing-in of Morrison Government ministers this week, most notably the appointment of Senator Bridget McKenzie as Federal Agriculture Minister and the re-appointment of Senator Simon Birmingham as Federal Trade Minister.

Cattle Council of Australia president Tony Hegarty has written to Ministers McKenzie and Birmingham congratulating them on their appointments. Mr Hegarty has also written to Minister David Littleproud to thank him for his recent stewardship of the Agriculture portfolio and his appointment this week as the Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management.

“As the peak council representing Australia’s 50,000 beef cattle businesses, Cattle Council will work with the Morrison Government to secure a prosperous and sustainable future for the nation’s beef cattle producers who, as an industry, generate an annual production value of $11.4 billion,” Mr Hegarty said.

“A great deal of our policy and reform agenda requires significant collaboration with the Federal Government. This ensures industry can continue to strengthen animal health, welfare, biosecurity and traceability systems, while improving global market access and delivering innovative research and development programs which equip producers with the world’s best on-farm management practices.

“Cattle Council looks forward to working with Ministers McKenzie and Birmingham, as well as other members of the Morrison Government, to help create opportunities for producers, other beef supply chain businesses and the communities they support. This is especially important at the current time, as many of beef producing families continue to grapple with the impacts of drought and floods.

“Prime Minister Morrison’s visit to flood-affected Queensland producers last week – so soon after his re-election – shows he understands that natural disaster recovery is a long-term proposition for producers.”

Mr Hegarty said improved market access was a fundamental priority for beef producers, noting there was significant alignment between the industry and the Federal Government in relation to trade reform.

“Our key objectives are to support producers by ratifying the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership and delivering an Australia-European Union free trade agreement. Strengthening trade relationships with important markets like the UK and China are also high priorities for producers,” he said.

“Unlocking new trade opportunities is critical given the red meat sector is now Australia’s largest trade-exposed manufacturing industry, supporting more than 430,000 employees across our supply chains.”

Mr Hegarty has also written to Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, flagging the Australian red meat industry’s target to be carbon neutral by 2030.

“As I have been reminded this week at the International Beef Alliance conference in Brazil, Australia’s cattle industry is a world leader in sustainable beef production. We should be very proud of the clean, green beef we produce and our role as a force for positive change in terms of environmental sustainability,” he said.

“We don’t want to be distracted by some of the skewed reports being published which seek to attack our industry’s environmental footprint. We are looking forward to working with Minister Taylor to identify opportunities for our industry and highlighting the positive role we have to play in emissions management.”

(Cattle Council President Tony Hegarty is pictured below with Cattle Council CEO Margo Andrae at this week’s International Beef Alliance conference in Brazil.)

Media contact: Tom Dawkins 0409 219 527