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Australian Cattle Council : Yearbook 2008
page 12 C aTTL e COUNCIL OF a USTR a LI a Y ea RBOOK 2008 The coming 12 months will be telling as australian exporters face up to increased competition into key asian markets such as Japan and Korea. However, the robust nature of australia’s beef industry has never been more apparent. We continue to adapt to new challenges, pressures and opportunities. Despite difficult production and trading conditions, this industry still exports more than $120 million worth of product each and every week to more than 100 customer countries around the globe. The Cattle Council of australia is proud of the leadership role it delivers to the australian beef industry; however, none of us can rest on our laurels. The next few years will bring with it another set of challenges and opportunities; some new, some not so new. We are facing a ‘climate for change’, and as such, strength, unity and innovation will deliver a strong future for the next generation. The Cattle Council’s agenda remains as hectic as ever. We are well regarded within parliament and government Departments as purveyors and communicators of responsible, robust policy on behalf of the beef industry. Representing australia’s single largest agricultural industry (valued at around $A13 billion) is both stimulating and rewarding: the sheer size of this export-reliant industry cannot be underestimated. It is this export reliance that provides both opportunities and challenges for the industry. Cattle Council is intrinsically linked to the design and monitoring of the suite of assurances that the trade currently offers our customers: traceability (NLIS), quality assurance, food safety and biosecurity are all critically important features of this industry. The australian beef industry has an enormous ‘engine room’ that ensures collaboration, consultation and ultimately decisions that cover all facets of the business, including: trade, quarantine, food safety, animal health & welfare, standards, marketing & promotion and research & development. Cattle Council is a significant contributor to this engine room, ensuring that this industry continues to deliver at least, or better than, world’s-best practice. CLIMaTe CHaNge Never before have these two words meant so much. ‘Climate Change’, ‘global Warming’ or ‘Climate variability’: the name doesn’t matter as the result remains the same. While the australian community will no doubt continue to debate the virtues of climate change, the fact remains that the body of scientific opinion is telling us that weather patterns are changing due to human activity. Some areas in australia may become drier over time while others are likely to experience increased rainfall. So what does all this mean for australian agriculture? There are two clear issues facing industry and government. The first being the scientific reality of climate change: what will be the impact over the next 30 years? The second, and the one front and centre for the Cattle Council: climate change policy. The recently-elected Federal Labor government is moving quickly on climate change. One of the first actions of the government post-election was to ratify the Kyoto protocol. Following the Kyoto ratification, the government has committed to implementing an David Inall, Executive Director, Cattle Council of Australia executive Director’s Report a Climate for Change The australian beef industry has experienced a ‘mixed bag’ in recent times with bullish exports and continuing strong domestic demand, all at a time of ongoing and widespread dry conditions, the high australian dollar and record grain prices. We are facing a ‘climate for change’, and as such, strength, unity and innovation will deliver a strong future for the next generation. Australian agriculture, through the National Farmers’ Federation, is tightly engaged in the climate change debate.