The importance of Port Alma for future live cattle exports has been acknowledged by the federal Senate today.
The upper house of the Australian Parliament passed a motion by Rockhampton-based Senator Matt Canavan noting the approval of Port Alma as a live cattle export facility and the benefit of providing new export options to producers and the cattle industry in Central Queensland.
“The Senate voted overwhelmingly in support of the motion,” Senator Canavan said. “The vote was 45 to 10 in favour. Only the Greens voted against it. The Greens would still ban live export of cattle, given half a chance.”
Senator Canavan said that lowering transport costs by providing local export options in addition to the highly important processing industry will deliver better returns to Central Queensland cattle producers by giving access to more markets.
“Around a quarter of all the cattle exported from Townsville come from Central Queensland and producers bear the costs of trucking them north. Port Alma gives them a much closer facility with much lower transport costs.”
Senator Canavan said Port Alma was “set to go” for local live cattle exports.
“The facility at Port Alma was approved by the Department of Agriculture earlier this year and is currently registered to export live cattle.
“Everything is in place for exports out of Port Alma and, as I understand it from local producers, the only thing holding it up now is the high prices being paid for cattle on competing local markets, which is great news for the industry.
“Port Alma is an excellent alternative export facility for CQ cattle as and when it’s needed.”
Senator Canavan said the Coalition Government has opened seven markets for live exports, including most recently China, and signed four new free trade deals with Korea, Japan, China and the Trans-Pacific Partnership between 12 nations.
"Australia has exported record volumes of live cattle, as well as chilled and frozen beef, and we are currently witnessing record prices in saleyards right across the country.
“At the end of September, the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator went to over 590 cents a kilogram, 240 cents higher than the same time last year and more than twice the low point of 278 cents in May 2013.
“Strong international demand, a lower Australian dollar and tighter cattle numbers have produced terrific prices for our cattle, and CQ producers have the knowledge that there is a local export facility approved now and ready to go at Port Alma if prices settle back in future and this an attractive alternative.”