Northern beef producers will have an opportunity to put questions regarding the live export trade directly to agricultural minister Joe Ludwig when he travels to Mount Isa next Thursday.
Mr Ludwig will address a live export forum organised by peak Queensland farm group AgForce in Mount Isa.
Meat and Livestock Australia chairman Don Heatley and Queensland minister for primary industry Tim Mulherin will also address the forum.
AgForce CEO Robert Walker said forum aimed to address the overwhelming demand for information and answers after Minister Ludwig temporarily closed the Indonesian live export trade, following images of cattle being poorly treated on ABC’s Four Corners program.
“This is the first national forum that will bring the right people in the one room to get the right answers on Indonesia," Mr Walker said.
“AgForce does not condone cruelty to animals in any form, but we do support continuity in the live export trade to Indonesia.
“The suspension of exporting live cattle to Indonesia is already having devastating impacts on the Australian beef cattle industry so we have called on Minister Ludwig and other local, state and federal government and peak body council representatives to provide answers.
“Producers are frustrated – the ability for many to run a successful business has been taken away from them and many are now at breaking point.
“This is not about profitability. This is about the preservation of the lifeblood of northern Australia. Producers and communities who are no longer in control of their own livelihoods must have answers, and the AgForce live export forum will facilitate that.”
Producers will also hear from other speakers including:
• State member for Mt Isa Betty Kiernan
• AgForce Cattle councillor and Cattle Council Australia board member Peter Hall
• Federal Member for Wide Bay, Leader of The Nationals Warren Truss
• AgForce Cattle policy director Andrew Simpson
• Live export peak bodies and other business representatives.
“A well balanced solution to support the live export industry as well as long term increases in processing capacity across Australia must be agreed upon quickly and supported by Government. Until this occurs, the beef industry remains vulnerable to the whims of a one-direction market which weakens its ability in determining benefits and future investments.
“AgForce urges all of those who have a stake in the beef industry to come forward and find ways to reopen this market immediately in order to provide a balance to long term sustainability.”
The AgForce live export open forum will be at the Buffs Club, Billabong Lounge, Corner Grace and Simpson Streets, Mt Isa on Thursday 30 June – 12.30pm registration and 1pm-4pm forum.
AgForce has advised that tea, coffee and light refreshments will be available on arrival. RSVPs essential for catering – email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to book a place.