The Federal Treasurer has assured beef producers of a healthy future for the industry.
Joe Hockey spoke at the Cloncurry Show Cattleman's Dinner in north west Queensland last night.
He declined an interview with the ABC, but in his speech spoke about the Federal Government's support for rural areas.
He says growth in live cattle exports is improving the outlook for country towns like Cloncurry.
"I really and genuinely wanted to say to you, how much I admire you for what you have gone through.
"Last year, there was very little live cattle export, but we've opened up the live cattle trade again and realise how important it is that we become a reliable, consistent, predictable supplier of food to the Asian region."
He was also optimistic about the potential to strike a free trade agreement with China.
"Our farmers are, from our perspective, the best in the world at what they do, but we just need to have that opportunity, so that is why we invest in free trade agreements.
"We are close, and I am not guaranteeing it, but we are close to a deal with China, that would potentially open up a massive opportunity for beef exports into that region."
© ABC 2014
10:43 EDT A two-year-old boy has died and a girl has suffered serious injuries after a tree fell on their house at The Patch in the Dandenong Ranges, east of Melbourne, as severe thunderstorms swept through Victoria last night.