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Australian Cattle Council : Yearbook 2010
46 YEARBOOK 2010 CATTLE COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA AgForce Queensland Minister Tony Burke's speech to the National Press Club in 2009 highlighted the need for food production and transport improvements. As a result, AgForce worked on a number of transport policy and funding areas. Highlights included securing $25 million to continue Queensland's cattle rail services and lobbying to improve Queensland Rail's efficiency. Queensland is the only state still providing cattle rail services and there is great need for such services to continue if all slaughter and live export market opportunities are to be realised in the northern and western areas. AgForce Cattle board representatives have also worked on state consultative groups and led delegations to transport and roads Ministers to argue for reforms to road safety regulations including fatigue, access and weight, while also pushing the beef industry's needs in strategic issues such as volumetric/distance charging proposals. Eating quality was a big focus for the AgForce Cattle board during the year. AgForce with MLA helped train over 200 producers in Meat Standards Australia and with government agencies and MLA raised the profile of high quality beef production from pasture/grass fed beef in urban media. Major reforms to eating quality programs are hoped as a result of our work during 2009 in which we consulted with a wide number of members of the supply chain. Much of this reform work was in the context of the NSW Torbay bill and the need for Queensland beef businesses to give a clear and considered position to our Minister during discussions on grading and labelling laws. With the magic million mark achieved in numbers graded annually, and with very strong growth in MSA numbers as major processers adopt the system, it is hoped we continue to build this important tool. Our goal must be to boost demand for beef by ensuring MLA promotions and government regulations facilitate genuine eating quality outcomes for consumers. During 2009 AgForce directors participated in working groups to form new animal welfare codes and standards (referred to as Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Cattle). AgForce has worked with a number of Queensland government agencies, RSPCA and agents to ensure legislation is practical and producers and the supply chain understand their requirements for animal welfare, especially in nutrition and transport. With both drought and flood, and difficulties including fodder and molasses shortages all needing to be managed, the proactive work by AgForce with state agencies has minimised otherwise damaging issues for the integrity of beef production. » In the last year AgForce Cattle Board continued making major improvements to government policy on behalf of our members to ensure that Queensland interests are heard at a national level.