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Australian Cattle Council : Yearbook 2010
58 YEARBOOK 2010 CATTLE COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA 2010 has seen the retirement from both PGA and CCA of one of the industry's longest serving representatives, Tim D'Arcy. We are all deeply indebted to Tim for his leadership and selfless commitment to industry issues and progress. I took over from Tim as Meat and Livestock Committee Chairman in March, with a new beef spokesman in Janet Thompson and a new CCA representative in David Lovelock, and a range of new pastoral and farming representatives on the Committee. Initially through Tim, and more recently through David, PGA strongly supported CCA in defending the decision to allow beef imports from BSE countries, and conversely, in opposing the imposition of Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CRPS). The decision on CPRS was a monumental victory for the livestock industries. The adverse ramifications of the decision to heavily qualify beef imports from BSE countries has yet to be measured in terms of potential damage to our own beef exports to these countries. WA's and Australia's increasing dependence on live sheep and cattle exports continues to draw our main local focus, and we have welcomed the unswerving, ongoing support of Federal Minister Tony Burke, as well as our own State Government. PGA was instrumental several years ago in ensuring that increased levies to MLA would include a funding component for Livecorp to promote a positive new image for the State's livestock industry. The result was a noticeable improvement in public perceptions of the industry and greater awareness of the significant improvements being made. PGA is now keen to revive the promotional effort, as reduced Livecorp activity over the past 12 months has already resulted in a drop in public support. About 35 percent of WA levies to MLA are paid by our pastoral members, who along with their pastoralist counterparts in the Northern Territory and northern Queensland, continue to be totally dependent on live cattle exports. PGA believes the case is even stronger now to once more lift the promotional effort in favour of live cattle exports. Steady improvement in animal welfare standards within the livestock export industry continues to underwrite a major success story, particularly in WA. However a stage of inertia appears to have been reached at State Government level with the approvals for a new private, bulk container port at James Point, South of Fremantle. Obtaining a 'green light' for this project, which will include provision for livestock export facilities is a key PGA objective, because it is an essential next step in improving animal welfare standards. A proposal for government intervention in the beef processing industry was contained in a "Beef Stocktake" report released late in 2009 by WA Agriculture Minister Terry Redman. The report has proved to be divisive because it favours the establishment of a new beef processing precinct in the South West with no declaration of how a necessary $300 and $500 million might be funded. PGA opposition has been based on the threat of compulsory producer levies to fund the plan and the regional funding and logistical inequities that would be created. We have also noted the increased buying interest in WA of cattle graziers and processors from the Eastern States as they move to make good serious production shortfalls. Beef processing competition and capacity, increasing reels of government red tape that are stifling beef industry development and innovation, and the threat of ongoing drought and new national and world heritage listings in our major pastoral regions, are our issues of ongoing importance. Pastoralists and Graziers Association of WA The national beef perspective provided for WA by Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) continues to hold vital significance, via the Pastoralists and Graziers' Association for the major proportion of WA's beef producers. Digby Stretch Chairman Pastoralists' & Graziers' Association of WA Livestock Commitee