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Australian Cattle Council : Yearbook 2012
YEARBOOK2012 CATTLE COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA 62 Indonesia The importance of Indonesia to north Australia and the complementary nature of the trade to both Australia and Indonesia cannot be overstated. The reduction in import permit numbers for 2012 has been a major blow to confidence. Indonesia remains central to the long term prospects of the trade and with it the northern cattle industry. We certainly don't discount the Indonesian ambitions toward self-sufficiency and continue to point out the benefits of the live trade to regional areas of Indonesia where feedlotting of cattle has become an important part of the local economy. Northern Meatworks A large Australian cattle producer appears to be pushing ahead with plans for a new abattoir near Darwin. While there is plenty of interest from the wider industry and other commercial interests the challenges of building and running a facility are made worse with the introduction of the carbon tax and other hurdles to business including the Fair Work Act; Beef markets in Japan and Korea under pressure from US competition and the A$ around parity with the US$. The carbon economy and environmental acquisitions Last August the Federal Government announced that it had made $9m available to a private agricultural business connected to an iconic Australian name for the purchase of Henbury Station south of Alice Springs, aimed at destocking and establishing a carbon farming experiment. This has caused anger and dismay among the local industry, particularly as further details emerged of the circumstances behind the purchase which has taken the $9m from the $400m Australian National Reserve System fund run by the Federal Environment Department. The program is designed to subsidise organisations who wish to purchase properties, and include and manage them as part Australia's system of conservation reserves or privately owned national parks. We hope that the record on publically owned parks will not continue with further acquisitions, as we struggle with the fire, weed and feral menace of those we have. Ultimately however, purchases such as these threaten the long term future of our industry by removing critical mass and skills from the region. Fires in Central Australia Estimates are that 60% of Central Australia was burnt over 2011-12 as fires swept through the region. Cattle producers who had been taking the opportunity to rebuild their herds after years of drought were, in some cases, plunged back into a drought situation almost overnight. Lack of preparedness and resources were compounded in some cases by fires being deliberately lit or restarted after fire fighters had them under control. It is fortunate that there were relieving rains in some areas following the fires. There have been excellent falls across much on the NT over late 2011 and early 2012. NTCA Programs Indigenous program During 2011 and again in 2012, the NTCA with the support of committed NTCA members successfully recruited and trained over 60 Indigenous stockmen and women into long term employment across the Daly, Katherine, Barkly and VRD regions. The program is now working to the NTCA's Northern Territory Pastoral Industry Indigenous Training and Employment Strategy (NTPIITES) 2011 -- 2016. In 2011 a 25 minute Occupational Health and Safety DVD was produced by the NTCA and is now viewed by many young people starting out in our industry. The NTCA Bohning Yards in Alice Springs have been playing a critical part in the direct employment of young Indigenous people under a structured school based vocational, education and training program. With its redevelopment the yard complex is now a significant venue for hosting intensive training programs for both the NTCA employment program and other outside parties. Indonesian Australian program In March, 2012 an MOU was signed between the NTCA and the Brawijaya University, Malang, East Java and the Padjadjaran University, Bandung, West Java to pilot an 8 week program for 8 animal husbandry students to work in the northern beef industry. The program commenced with an intensive 6 day induction and training course followed by industry placements with 2 NT Government research farms and selected corporate and family run stations in the NT. This program has been a couple of years in the making and was identified as a strategy to deepen cross industry