Debates Day 4 - Tuesday 30 October 2012
Parliamentary Record 1
Debates for 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Tuesday 30 October 2012 262 other parts of Southeast Asia to develop that trade. The Territory is home to around 200 pastoral leases and has a total cattle herd of around two million head. Up to two thirds of these cattle are sold to the live export trade. There is real potential for the Territory herd size to increase to 2.5 million in the next 10 years, given factors such as sustained markets, favourable seasonal conditions, and a commitment from this government - and this is important - to support industry to ensure greater efficiency in herd production, intensification of cattle enterprises and better land utilisation. While the live export trade substantially increases returns for cattle producers and creates jobs, the Australian governments temporary ban on live cattle exports to Indonesia and the subsequent halving of Indonesias import quota has thrown the Top Ends cattle industry into turmoil. As well, the weight limit of 350 kg for feeder cattle, which has been strictly in force since 2010, remains in place. This government believes the pastoral industry is a substantial contributor to the Northern Territorys economy and we have already begun to reengage with Indonesia, our largest overseas live export market, and are working to substantially increase live cattle export quotas. We strongly support the Territorys beef cattle industry and we will do all we can to repair the damage done by the Australian governments temporary live export ban. This government is supporting the beef cattle or pastoral industry and working to ensure it is profitable. To help the pastoral industry bounce back, we are working closely with industry associations such as the Live Export Association and the NT Cattlemens Association, and we will establish a high-level ministerial council to provide a direct line of communication between me, as the relevant minister, and the pastoral sector. However, as the outlook for the Territory cattle industry remains challenging, this government is dedicated to widening the opportunities for pastoralists and my department is working with industry to investigate and develop new live export markets and the establishment of local processing facilities. There is strong potential for new regular live export markets in Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia. My department is working closely with the Department of the Chief Minister and with the NT Livestock Exporters Association and the NTCA to maintain existing markets and develop new livestock trade opportunities overseas. The department is a keen participant in industry delegations. It is responsible for the preparation of feasibility studies and provides technical services and training to the industry, as well as providing training to new importers prior to receiving shipments of Territory cattle. An alternative market for cattle not suitable for live export is the establishment of an abattoir in the Top End. My department has been providing facilitation support and technical advice to a number of potential abattoir proponents, with the principal proponent, Australian Agricultural Company, well ahead with plans to establish a processing plant in the Livingstone area. This abattoir will be on a large scale, processing around 2000 cattle every week, and will supply meat to restaurants and wholesale markets in the Territory and interstate. On much smaller scales are the establishment of abattoirs on Elsey Station and another near Ngukurr. While these abattoirs will provide jobs in the bush, training opportunities, and an alternative market opportunity for nearby pastoralists, importantly, they will provide a source of fresh meat for local communities. One of this governments election commitments related to the review of export yards to ensure the capacity keeps pace with industry growth. This review is already under way in consultation with the Northern Territory Livestock Exporters Association. This government is determined to develop the Territory as a leader in horticulture research. To this end, I have instructed my department to research the establishment of an annual horticulture research and extension seminar which will involve the industry and key government agencies. Now that Primary Industry and Fisheries is a stand-alone department it is better placed to facilitate enhanced investment and development in the industry, including ensuring robust biosecurity measures are in place to protect agriculture and the future potential of our primary industry. A wide range of Territorians and visitors depend upon or enjoy the healthy state of our fisheries. Many Aboriginal communities have strong customary links with our aquatic environments and rely on fish for food, culture and potential economic development opportunities. Our commercial fisheries and aquaculture industries have a combined value of over $50m and provide valuable supplies of high quality seafood such as mud crab, tropical snappers, barramundi, shark and mackerel to restaurants and retail markets. The government is already delivering on its election commitment to develop a resource sharing framework to enable evidence-based analysis to be applied to resolve access and resource attribution issues and give industry the certainty it needs to invest with confidence. The government is striving for the equitable distribution and optimal use of resources for all sectors while maximising public benefit. We are actively looking at what can be done to help the commercial
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