Live exports crucial: Truss

14 Sep, 2013 04:00 AM
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7
 
Prime Minister-electTony Abbott and NFF's Duncan Fraser.
Prime Minister-electTony Abbott and NFF's Duncan Fraser.

FEDERAL Nationals leader Warren Truss has nominated strengthening Australian livestock exports - not just the cattle trade to Indonesia - as a leading priority for the newly elected Coalition government.

Mr Truss said his party’s first aim was to ensure regional Australians got their “fair share” of funding for infrastructure projects, regional schools, regional hospitals and health care and health services.

“We know we can’t do everything that we’d like to do because we know there are real challenges associated with the tasks that lay ahead with the country in real debt,” he said.

“But regional Australia is a big part of the solution and if we have strong regions, we also have a stronger nation.”

But rebuilding confidence in the live export trade and mending trade relations with Indonesia were also high on the agenda.

He said that rebuilding process would involve strong contact between the two countries at prime ministerial level, with new Prime Minister Tony Abbott saying he would apologise to Indonesia for the former Labor government’s snap ban on cattle exports in June 2011.

Mr Truss said the rebuilding process would also require stronger connections and regular contact between relevant ministers in both countries and industry working together with government to “re-open the doors”.

He said there have been some “slightly more positive signs” coming out of Indonesia in recent months, with cattle import permit restrictions softened by the Indonesian government.

But he said a lot more work was needed to maintain the trading relationship and recover lost ground for the Australian livestock industry.

“Remember, relations with other countries are not made and broken in a day,” he said.

“They need to be worked on the all of the time and we can’t take relationships with our major trading partners for granted or allow them to be dealt with, with a lack of respect at any time.”

Mr Truss said rebuilding market access for live sheep exports to the Middle East would also be important for the new government.

He also agreed it was important to ensure commercial arrangements were prioritised, in signing off on stalled memorandums of understanding between trading partners, while maintaining high standards of animal welfare.

National Farmers Federation president Duncan Fraser said investment in innovation, research, development and extension was critical to make Australian agriculture globally competitive.

He also highlighted the need to address growing labour shortages in the sector and maintain natural resource management, while increasing agricultural production.

“The need for agriculture to be reprioritised on the national agenda remains as strong as ever,” he said.

“During the election campaign we saw both major parties make varying levels of commitment to ensure that this is the case.

“It's now time for the Coalition government to turn their promises into action.”

NFF chief executive officer Matt Linnegar said the lobby group had held extensive discussions with the Coalition before the election on “what they might do rather than what they will do”.

“Now they’re in town we’ll pick up those discussions and go into more detail,” he said.

The NFF wanted more detail on how the Coalition planned to spend and allocate its additional $100 million to rural research, to increase sector profitability.

“We want to know what they mean by that promise but now it’s a question of how that happens and how they intend to approach the funding allocation,” he said.

The NFF also wanted more detail on Coalition plans to spend $2 million on improving agricultural education and work-force shortages.

The Coalition’s agricultural election policies were to:

* Remove red tape

* Complete trade agreements including a meaningful outcome for agriculture

* Invest $100 million in agricultural innovation, RD&E

* Reinstate $2.2 million in native title respondent funding

* Invest $15 million in helping small exporters meet the costs of trade

* Invest $8 million in minor-use chemical permits to increase access for farmers

* Commit $2 million to agricultural education, to help embed agriculture in the national curriculum

* Invest $100 million in improving mobile phone coverage for rural and regional communities.

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READER COMMENTS

animal activist
14/09/2013 9:21:50 AM

Just as we have turned Argentine pastures to soy fields, so too we will convert more souther pastures into grainfields. Its nothing personal animal farmers, but the more simply needs more of your grain. If the 3rd world starts eating meat like us we ae going to continue coming up short with the grain the world needs. We have global govt on side.
Eyes averted
14/09/2013 10:35:26 AM

Fifteen million for small exporters would be better spent on a complete revamp of Ausmeat. Issues to address. restriction to new and existing trade by monopolistic licencing. Relevance of the course system and compliancy under its own ASQA legislation,and the complete lack of transparency and relevance of its processes in the export of Australian goods.
disilusioned
14/09/2013 4:14:36 PM

Although any financial Investment in Agriculture by the Government is much appreciated, 227 million dollar investment into an industry that has been virtuely crippled by the previous Gov. it is a small amount compared to the Billions of $ given away to foreign aid and boat people, I recall Joe Hockey saying that we need to make cuts to the above so we can support our industries at home, "What Happened"???
qlander
15/09/2013 7:23:42 AM

'We know we can’t do everything that we’d like to do' The Nationals in a nutshell concede defeat before you even start. Guess what Warren the country as a whole is the Liberals problem, your problem is supposed to be the survival of rural communities, and the situation is desperate so you had better be ready to 'do what ever it takes'.
the kid
16/09/2013 11:01:36 AM

animalactivist - I think you'll find that pastures in Argentina have been converted into biofuels not grain to feed the world. as the world gets more able to support itself it wants meat not grains.
daw
16/09/2013 1:24:01 PM

give it a break disillusioned, they haven't been sworn in or had a sitting yet.
PAYG
17/09/2013 2:38:27 PM

So where have all the (majority of Australians) little pasty-faced vegans gone? It might have something to do with their lousy national first preference vote of just 1,580 (0.01%) in the house of reps, or their majority of Australians equally lousy 72,315 (0.66%) national votes for the senate. A hint for the vegans (majority of Australians) – if you want to change animal welfare outcomes in a foreign sovereign country then go to that sovereign country and agitate there, who knows, they may even let you and your vegan morals leave.

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Doctor Barney as Deputy Prime Minister is a horror movie in 3D, but it is halloween.
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In some ways you have a point Freshy but not totally. You are right to say farmers need to
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Yeah, that's right, FFS, in the 15th floor penthouse. How nice of you to remember. Are you going