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Sheepmeat Council : Sheepmeat 2014
SHEEPMEAT COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA ANNUAL MUSTER 2014 9 Mustering support for Australia’s sheep producers Growing up in New England, and being born into a farming family myself, I’ve had the privilege of seeing and experiencing firsthand our livestock industries in action. ADVOCACY Having been involved in Australian agriculture for my entire life, I am very confident about the sector's future, and believe firmly that we have some wonderful opportunities especially in the sheep meat industry. This Coalition Government has identified the agriculture sector as one of five key pillars of the economy and we are committed to continued trade growth with key markets for our high-quality products, including our sheep meat, which is highly regarded around the world for its clean and green credentials. Australia is once again open for business and I am determined that agriculture be at the forefront of our nation's future trade success. As you would have noticed, since coming to office, the Coalition has been aggressively pursuing new or expanded markets for both sheep meat and live sheep as a means of directly improving both demand and prices for your product. Over $1.7 billion in sheep meat has been exported in the nine months following the election of this government in September last year, already topping the $1.6 billion exported in the twelve months prior. The Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA), signed on 8 April 2014, will remove the 22.5 per cent tariff on sheep and goat meat over 10 years, and is a great example of the opportunities to improve returns to the farmgate through better market access. I was pleased to announce in May that we finalised animal health certification requirements with Iran to facilitate the trade with that market. This is on top of the re- opening of the Egypt and Bahrain markets earlier in the year -- both of which are key destinations for Australian sheep. Despite the dire state of the nation's finances, our first Budget fulfils all of our election commitments in Agriculture. We have delivered $100 million to support rural research and development, to deliver productivity and profitability improvements for farmers -- that is on top of the annual $250 million we are already investing in our research and development corporations. Furthermore, we have provided an additional $20 million for stronger biosecurity and quarantine, $8 million for improved access to minor chemicals -- so critical for making our small agricultural industries even more competitive -- and $15 million for financial assistance for small exporters. Earlier in the year the Government also announced a nation-wide $320 million drought assistance package to support farmers and their families during this period of financial hardship. The package delivers concessional loans, pest and water infrastructure, mental health and social support services, and is complemented by a Farm Household Allowance to provide income support when farming families need it most. I have also instigated a review of the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) as well as a comprehensive long- term biosecurity fee review to ensure that the costs we recover from your industry and the regulations we administer to facilitate your exports are minimised and streamlined as much as possible. These reviews will be completed in the 2014-15 financial year. But perhaps most important of all, the Coalition has delivered on a key election mandate and successfully abolished the world's biggest carbon tax -- removing one of the single largest cost imposts on Australian farmers. Meanwhile, the Labor Opposition remains intent on bringing back a carbon tax at the next election and keeping your business costs high. Looking to the future, we are well progressed in developing the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper as we promised prior to the election. The White Paper will provide a comprehensive policy blueprint for the next two decades and hopefully beyond, outlining clear policy objectives and options that will take the sector forwards and realise the full potential of Australian agriculture. Finally, this Government is proud to support and partner with you to grow your business. I look forward to working with you in the months and years ahead to ensure ongoing success as a world leader in producing high- quality livestock, feeding both Australia and the world. Barnaby Joyce Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce -- Minister for Agriculture.
Sheepmeat 2015 2016