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Sheepmeat Council : Sheepmeat 2013
14 SHEEPMEAT COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA ANNUAL MUSTER 2013 Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry In the six months since I took over the role I have been impressed with the wide-ranging work of the department and have done my best to learn about the portfolio and meet as many of our stakeholders and clients as possible. Meeting you all -- and there are many of you -- is a big job and one that I will continue to pursue. DAFF is a large portfolio that has an impact on every Australian in some way. I know that I have met many of you and hope to meet many more. I come to this role from seven busy and rewarding years as the Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. I was particularly pleased to be offered the chance to lead the agriculture, fisheries and forestry portfolio, and jumped at the opportunity. I have a deep personal interest in the portfolio, fed by a rural upbringing in Queensland and strong family ties to the land. This includes a rich history of settlers, farmers, drovers, and even an agricultural scientist of some note! We have an exciting year ahead of us at DAFF -- and one with opportunities for our export industries, including the sheepmeat industry. The recent Australia in the Asian Century whitepaper emphasises the importance of engaging with the region and the opportunity to capitalise on already strong growth in exports and market access. You may also be aware that the Australian Government recently launched the National Food Plan. The plan acknowledges the growing world population and corresponding growth in demand for food that will occur in Asia, bringing greater export opportunities. In practical terms, this means that we will increase the number of agricultural specialists in priority export markets such I was very pleased as the new Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) to be asked to contribute to this edition of the Muster. as Asia, investing $5.6 million to strengthen our relationships with trading partners in key and emerging markets. A $28.5 million Asian Food Markets Research Fund has been established to give industry a better understanding of consumer preferences in target markets and make it easier to identify trends. This follows some significant achievements of benefit to the sheepmeat export sector. The industry has seen considerable growth in exports and market access over the past 12 months. We understand, however, that many people on the land are facing challenges in retaining the levels of animal export numbers to our traditional markets. There are several reasons, including fluctuating demands, increasing costs, and a variable climate. This makes it very important for us to work on access to new markets, which we have done with considerable success. We have secured access for Australian sheepmeat to be sold on the Indian market, and the Israeli government has agreed to lower tariffs on sheepmeat imports from 50 to 30 per cent. Under the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS), Australia has now exported almost 2.2 million sheep. The government will also make $10 million available to eligible countries to help improve animal welfare and ensure ESCAS standards are met. Iraq recently approved Australia's proposed health and halal certification for the export of red meat and meat products. DAFF is continuing to seek agreement from Turkey on the certification of sheepmeat for export. Over the past decade Australian lamb exports to the Middle East and China have grown by around 17 per cent a year. China is now the third-largest market for Australian lamb, with exports by volume to China growing by 77 per cent in 2010-11 and a further 19 per cent in 2011-12. Strong demand for Australian mutton by the Middle East is expected to continue and the region is expected to remain our largest mutton export market. Mutton exports are expected to increase by 2017--18, based on demand in the Middle East and emerging markets in South-East Asia and China. DAFF has also supported several Australia-- China Agricultural Cooperation Agreement missions specifically targeted at the sheepmeat sector. China has given initial approval for the listing of 28 new cold- storage facilities for the export of meat and meat products from Australia. This is a key step towards recognition of Australia's meat export systems by China which would provide enormous market-access benefit. There are many other ways that the work of DAFF touches the industry in which you work, including managing our biosecurity system, providing advice and support on sustainable farming practices to managing the food labelling system that helps provide confidence in our domestic markets. I look forward to a productive working relationship with you so that DAFF understands your issues and priorities and we can work together on them. Andrew Metcalfe AO Secretary Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry For further information www.daff.org.au