Debates Day 5 - Wednesday 17 October 2007
Parliamentary Record 17
Debates for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Wednesday 17 October 2007 4871 is great that primary industry growers and pastoralists can access this tool, which will be interlinked with export opportunities we have through the AustralAsia Trade Route. Obviously, a big contributor to our export industry over many years has been our live cattle export industry. It is worth about $250m a year, and it currently stands at about 1.5% of our GSP. The government has had a great partnership with the NTCA for many years, with several focused programs throughout the Territory and, for that matter, Australia, to ensure that the cattle are in good condition for export. The pastoralists work terribly hard with departments on many of these programs. The NLIS system has played an integral role in this. Obviously, tracking animals around Australia, ensuring that they are tracked and they are of good quality, plays a very important role. The Heifer Fertility Project is another one where the livestock carrying capacity of the animals is monitored. Weight Gain Projects have also been undertaken by the department with the NTCA playing an integral role. These programs are there to increase the market share for the Northern Territory in cattle and buffalo for which there is an export area in South-East Asia. From the Northern Territory in September, 24 557 head of cattle have been exported through the port, which is 4129 cattle up on September last year. The demand for Northern Territory cattle overseas is quite prolific. It is interesting to note that the year-to-date figure on cattle from all over Australia including the Northern Territory, out of the Port of Darwin is 33 836, up on the same time last year. There is a tremendous demand for cattle in the South-East Asia area, and it is great to see that the export of those animals is increasing. I was very pleased to hear that the Chief Minister paid a visit to Vietnam, and that cattle was very high on the agenda during her visit. Linked with that is education, tourism and skilled migration, but from the cattle industrys point of view, it was great to have a memorandum of understanding signed with the Trade and Economic Cooperation with the Province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau is a terrific achievement for the Northern Territory. The economy of Vietnam is growing very quickly, and it has come a long way in a number of years. A few years ago, Vietnam probably could not afford to buy some of our cattle. It is pleasing to note that their economy is growing now and that interest has been shown in Northern Territory cattle. The Northern Territory Cattlemens Association, together with my department, will be making a few trips there to ensure that interest continues to the point where we hope that shipments will be leaving Darwin to Vietnam by mid-next year. I am hoping I might be able to follow that up with a visit to Vietnam early next year to continue the good work that the Chief Minister has done in that area. Malaysia is another important market for our cattle. I went to Sabah in October last year for the opening of their abattoir. I met with a number of government officials, export company representatives, feedlot owners, managers and vets within the area. My departments people are doing a lot of work with people in Sabah to set that little industry up. Unfortunately, they had a misfortune last month where the abattoir burnt down, but we are hopeful that we might be able to work closer with the Sabah government to ensure that we can get that back up and running again, and continue the good work that we started. I know the feedlot work is huge. I was lucky enough to visit a number of feedlots. The breeding and feed-up programs are working exceptionally well. To make it even more interesting, Northern Territory cattle were involved. Indonesia is our biggest export market. In the year-to-date out of NT alone, nearly 160 000 head of cattle have gone to Indonesia. We will continue to work with the Indonesian Feedlot Association, together with the Northern Territory Cattlemens Association, to ensure that those export numbers are maintained. Research in cattle production to ensure we have suitable cattle to go into that area will be undertaken. I will visit China in early November. We will stop over in Indonesia to meet with the feedlot association to ensure that our ties remain tight and that we continue the good relationship we have with the Indonesians. Another area that is very exciting, which I have reported on several times over the last couple of sittings, is mining. With the current resources boom, the Northern Territory is playing a significant role. The potential of the Northern Territory with its vast unexplored lands and the promotion that the department is doing is really giving the Northern Territory some impetus with overseas countries, and in particular China. I mentioned in the House yesterday that interest in the last 12 months has been prolific. We are receiving 50 applications each month for exploration. My department has been working double time to ensure that those applications are processed as quickly as possible. To have the good news that we had in The Financial Review last Friday, saying that Western Australia was falling asleep behind the wheel and the Northern Territory was the go-ahead place is just the sort of impetus and injection we need to create interest within the mining fraternity. It does not happen by chance. Building the Territorys Resource Base was a $15m program over four years which commenced in about 2003.