The $4 Billion Agricultural Competitiveness Whitepaper has been commended by the Cattle Council of Australia as a positive initiative which will assist to deliver the long-term vision of the Australian beef industry.
“Cattle Council’s is pleased with the $30 million for funding towards overseas agricultural counsellors, which will improve our ability to deal with technical trade barriers. The red meat sector has been calling for this over the past decade.” said Howard Smith, President of Cattle Council.
The $200 million for biosecurity has come just in time as weaknesses in our system were becoming critical. A core focus in the Cattle Council submission was a need to invest in our biosecurity systems to protect our industry from disease, pests and weeds.
“These are important measures but it is important to remember that we are really just replacing the money that previous Governments has been withdrawing from Agriculture over the last decade” said Howard.
Cattle Council’s submission called on the Agricultural Competitiveness Whitepaper to deliver tangible improvements for grassfed beef producers to gain objective measurements, improved transparency and an increase in market opportunity.
Two out of thee isn’t bad……….
“The White paper falls short on delivering an initiative to help beef producers and farmers more generally find objective measurements on which they can be paid for their product. If we want producer to make a quality product we have to pay them based on objective quality measures otherwise we will remain a price taking commodity producer.” Howard stated.
As with most high level announcements, the devil will be in the detail and the delivery, so Cattle Council will now work closely with Government to ensure these initiatives are delivered in a manor which is beneficial for grassfed cattle producers.
Cattle Council of Australia looks forward to seeing the improvements and funding of the White paper initiatives as they take place over the coming months.
Heidi Eldridge – Stakeholder Relations Officer 0488388037
Cattle Council makes the following specific comments on the White Paper initiatives:
The White paper will see a $500 million investment for long term improvements into water infrastructure and $1million for planning of agricultural infrastructure priorities.
A key issue urged by Cattle Council was to improve communications in rural and remote areas so the additional $60 million on top of the $100 million Mobile Black Spot Programme should deliver on this request.
A network tool implemented- The CSIRO’s TRAnsport Network Strategic Investment Tool (TRANSIT) will be expanded to provide decisions for future infrastructure investment a benefit for beef producers. Cattle Council has already been working with TRANSIT and this tool will help identify infrastructure bottlenecks.
Competition and Regulation
Cattle Council is pleased to see the government commit $11.4million towards the appointment of an ‘Australian Commissioner’ within the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. During the recent assessment of the JBS Purchase of Primo Cattle Council identified the need for more specific Agricultural skills within the ACCC.
This investment will see a dedication for the investigation into the trends of consolidation in major beef processing plants throughout Australia.
A significant investment of $200 million into improving biosecurity surveillance and analysis on a national level has been welcomed.
A core focus point in the Cattle Council submission investment into our leading biosecurity system will see over 4 years’ improvements into enhancing our data systems and beef producers will see $100 million set for pest, weed and disease response.
Australia’s biosecurity protocols is why Australia is one of the few countries that maintains a high disease free status continuous investment into this area will safeguard this status for years to come.
Research, development and drought assistance.
$100 million for R & D will see the extension of the Rural R&D for Profit Program to 2021-22 focused on improvements into advancements of technology, biosecurity and research.
Cattle Council is pleased to see the Government funding of new RD&E priorities to direct levy funds to areas that will improve farm gate returns, a key priority that was urged by Cattle Council.
The Drought Concessional Loans Scheme was replaced with a permanent, low interest loan scheme for drought affected farmers, capped at $250 million per year for 10 years. This improvement will allow beef producer to have a lasting drought support mechanism.
Accessing international markets
This announcement will provide beef producers the chance to capitalise on the opportunities available after the recent news of the Free Trade Agreements that Australia has negotiated with Japan, South Korea and most importantly China.
“$30 million for funding towards overseas agricultural counsellors will improve technical barriers to trade and open opportunities for Australian beef producers” stated Mr. Matz.