The Australian Lot Feeders Association, the peak Industry council representing Australian lot feeders, says access to safe, reliable and sufficient groundwater is crucial for future investment in the Queensland feedlot sector.
ALFA’s Christian Mulders said that more than 50 percent of Australia’s feedlots, representing around 670,000 head capacity, reside in Queensland with the majority of these located in the region proposed under the Queensland Government’s draft GABORA underground water plan.
“We’ve seen solid investment in Queensland feedlot capacity as supply chains have moved to secure cattle supply to meet their brand commitments and customer’s demand for high quality beef 365 days a year, irrespective of environmental conditions.
“To attract future investment and enable the feedlot sector to expand in the face of climate change predictions the proposed GABORA Water Plan must give feedlot operators options for better access to water resources”, Mr Mulders said.
“At the moment the proposed plan effectively restricts lot feeders to access water from the general reserve allocation.
“The proposed allocation for the general reserve has been significantly reduced and some of the allocations are in deep aquifers requiring very expensive bores to be drilled.
“As a result future investment and capacity building in the Queensland feedlot industry could be significantly restricted if the plan is adopted and we have questioned that in our submission.”
On the flip side the draft plan proposed increases in the state reserve allocation, but this water could only be accessed by projects that are deemed of a State or regional significance, Mr Mulders said.
‘Feedlots should be recognised by the State Government for their regional significance’
Mr Mulders said that feedlots should be recognised by the State Government for their regional significance and that the selection criteria should enable them to easily access the water under the state reserve allocation to encourage expansion and efficient beef production.
“Feedlots deliver economic, social and environmental benefits to regional communities through the employment they create and the revenue they generate in other regional businesses, such as the grassfed production sector, grain production, transportation and the processing and export industry.
“Having feedlots recognised by the government for their regional significance will improve the sector’s water access options and ensure feedlots can continue to grow their business and in turn those businesses and communities that rely on them,” Mr Mulders said.