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Beef producers want cattle donated to Indonesia

Virginia Tapp, Tuesday May 7, 2013 - 22:47 EST
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250 beef producers gather in Richmond, Queensland to discuss four main influences which are cruelling their businesses at the moment; reduced cattle export trade, high Australian dollar, drought and high debt. - ABC

Organisers of a beef crisis summit in north Queensland today want to see 100,000 Australian cattle donated to Indonesia.

Up to 500 graziers, as well as the state and federal agriculture ministers, gathered in Richmond to address the high Australian dollar, drought, high debt and the reduced cattle export industry.

Organiser Barry Hughes says one resolution is to make good with Indonesia after the live export suspension.

"We'll be wrapping a resolution around using funds that are available to the Federal Government to buy back 100,000 head of cattle and put them in a package of relief aid to Indonesia," he said.

"We'd be looking to utilise the protein that's available here, causing a bottleneck in our marketplace, but relieving the protein issue that's happening in Indonesia."

Hughenden grazier Rob Atkinson says the summit also discussed interest rates.

"We would also like to see what can be done about interest rates.

"The Reserve Bank has set our interest rates well above that of our competing nations and we'd like to see them lower."

Other resolutions tabled at today's meeting include:
Establishing a body to negotiate with the Indonesian ambassador to develop and expand the cattle export trade.
State and federal governments providing emergency financial relief for rents, rates and taxes.
The Queensland Government reducing registration on vehicles and reduce road and rail subsidies for the duration of the drought.
Meat and Livestock Australia to suspend the $5 transaction levy on drought-affected areas.
The Federal Government to reduce interest rates.
The government to take control of the high Australian dollar.
Independent federal MP Bob Katter to propose a bill for a rural bank that could offer low interest loans to develop agriculture in Australia.
The Federal Government to review the tax zone allowance to attract workers.
To prioritise a northern meatworks.
Set up a Ministry of Food to ensure a fair standard of living for farmers.

The group has already said more summits will be called to further discuss the issues facing the beef industry and a delegation will be organised to visit politicians in Canberra.


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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