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Australian Cattle Council : Yearbook 2008
page 8 C aTTL e COUNCIL OF a USTR a LI a Y ea RBOOK 2008 Bill Bray, President, Cattle Council of Australia The industrial and technological revolutions have led to enormous changes of benefit to our lifestyles and productivity across the globe. Heating, cooling, refrigeration, cooking, transport, communication, computing and manufacturing are now all integral parts of life. For some they create wealth; for others they represent a cost, but we can’t live without them. It comes as no surprise that the theme of Cattle Council of australia’s 2008 Yearbook is ‘Climate Change’. The Council sees meeting the challenges created by climate change as one of its main strategic imperatives for 2008. Developing sound policy within the environmental debate requires a deep understanding of all facets that affect producers and their operations: emissions, carbon credits, the offsets and value of our land, vegetation, plus the soil and water we manage. Other key issues on Cattle Council’s agenda include: • working towards practical standards and guidelines for the welfare of cattle during land transport; • maximising Australia’s international trade in beef and livestock; • the ever-rising costs in producing beef; and • maintaining the Council’s profile as Australia’s most respected and active lobby groups. Cattle Council maintains this position of effective representation by developing robust, practical policy through our State member organisation network. We also have an influential and active role within the National Farmers’ Federation. Reflecting on the changes the cattle industry has seen over the past 12 months, it has been an eventful period: • a new Federal Government elected in November 2007; • climate change becoming the new focus of government; • the drought breaking in many parts of Queensland and two thirds of the State being flooded; • large areas of New South Wales receiving the best rains in many years, still nearly 50% remains in drought; • the Australian dollar reaching record highs (US$0.93); • the US economy going into recession due mainly to poor lending practices and the world economy feels the effect with global share markets falling 30% to 40%; • continuing strong growth in the mining and minerals sector within australia, leading to labour shortages for the agricultural sector; • the US beef industry consolidating its global position, with Korea and Japan remaining the prime targets; • the advancing of a US/Korea Free Trade Agreement that, if ratified without an equivalent Australia/Korea agreement, will have significant effects on our supply of beef to Korea over the long term; • the Australian feedlot sector feeling the pain of very high grain prices, a strong australian dollar and high weaner prices, thus creating lower margins leading to 400,000 less cattle on feed; Foreword ‘Climate Change’ is one term the agricultural sector will recall for years to come and 2008 is certainly the dawning of a new day when it comes to climate change policy. australian beef producers are now grasping the significance of the impact climate-change policy decisions will have on the way we operate our production systems, particularly the proposed emissions Trading Scheme (eTS). All these issues have impacted or will potentially impact upon beef producers’ bottom line; Cattle Council continues to adopt a proactive approach towards ensuring that the industry remains profitable. The Council sees meeting the challenges created by climate change as one of its main strategic imperatives for 2008.