Katter warns Minister to tread carefully on cattle issue
4 December 2013: KAP Federal Leader and Member for Kennedy Bob Katter has met with the Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop in Canberra to discuss the live cattle industry, prior to the Minister’s trip to Indonesia tomorrow.
“We said to the Minister that in light of the precarious situation with our beef trade, the Cattle Crisis Council, myself and the Indonesian Ambassador have worked almost all year getting the restoration of the market and building the beef highway to Indonesia and this all could be in jeopardy,” Mr Katter said.
Cattle welfare and minimising the costs of transporting cattle for graziers was also on the agenda.
“Currently the centre of gravity in the beef industry is the gulf. The idea of sending the cattle east-south-east, in the opposite direction to Indonesian, means an extra three days in a boat and an extra $100 in a truck – is completely ludicrous.
“I’ve asked the Minister to reallocate a portion of the $50M allocated from the former Rudd Government to Indonesia for beef research into upgrading the Karumba Port so that it has the capacity for larger live export vessels.
“We are tenaciously opposed to any sale of Australian land and we feel there are ways around this with agistment, particularly, with our First Australians in Northern Australia, who are getting no money from their land.
“We want First Australians to work the properties themselves. If we can develop areas currently empty of cattle then the Karumba Port upgrade becomes an absolute necessity.”
Mr Katter said there has been arguably a seven per cent increase in the total beef market that was secured by the efforts of many in re-establishing the cattle trade with Indonesia.
“If that seven per cent vanishes then even five per cent over production will drive the price of beef through the floor, on the other hand five per cent under production will drive the price through the roof.”
Mr Katter said a five per cent increase in demand should have a great upward pressure on beef prices for next year and he wanted the Minister to understand the importance of the visit tomorrow for the future of Australian graziers and the beef industry.
“It is my duty to make the Minister well aware of the dangers of blowing us back to where we were at the beginning of the year, in terms of access to the Indonesian market.
“These discussions will be integral to Australia and north Queensland and I came away from the meeting a little tiny bit reassured.
“We have put our point of view very clearly to the Minister,” Mr Katter said.
For information on Bob Katter’s role in the 43rd Parliament click here: http://www.bobkatter.com.au/your-member/43rd-parliament-a-retrospective.html