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Shadow Treasurer goes to heart of cattle country

Virginia Tapp, Friday June 14, 2013 - 15:07 EST
ABC image
David Moore's steers are following 6,000 head of cattle on the stock route. - ABC
ABC image
Joe Hockey addressed north-west Queensland graziers in Cloncurry - ABC

The Federal Shadow Treasurer says building abattoirs is part of the solution to save the northern cattle industry.

Joe Hockey addressed graziers at the Annual Cloncurry Cattleman's Dinner in north-west Queensland.

He says meat processing infrastructure will increase access to export markets.

"I think it's also important that we look at a halal butchery that has export capacity located in the north, maybe two of them, that allow for abattoirs to operate and have export industries of halal meat into new markets.

"They've got to be the right abattoirs in the right places and they need the capacity to export to key markets."

Mr Hockey says the government has a role to play in controlling the dollar.

"Well, the best way to take some of the upward pressure off the dollar is to take upward pressure off interest rates. You can do that by running a surplus."

He expects the dollar to fall quickly after building slowly over several years.

"There is a bit of a trend sometimes that the Australian dollar rises slowly and falls fast. Our currency rises and fall on optimism about China and also about commodity prices more generally."

The Cloncurry Show Cattleman's Dinner went ahead last night despite the cattle section of the show being cancelled because of the drought.

Mr Hockey's plans are little consolation for some.

Chis Chaplain, from Wynberg Station, says things will stay quiet at home until the rains come.

"There's not a lot more we can do. We've sold a lot of cattle, we've put cattle on agistment, what's left we're feeding supplement.

"At the moment, it's just a waiting game to see what the market does and what the weather will do. We're waiting for rain basically."

David Moore, of Strathfield Station in the McKinlay Shire, put some of his cattle on the stock route earlier in the year, in an attempt to avoid selling on a depressed market.

He says the long paddock between Winton and Roma is becoming crowded with cattle from Queensland and the Northern Territory.

"It was working out not too badly. There was only one mob in front of us and now all of a sudden there's another two mobs of 2,000 in front of us and I really don't know how they're going to handle the water and I'm a little surprised that they were allowed on there.

"You can either cart water to them to get them over that stretch or just lift them by truck to somewhere else or to a saleyard."


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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