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Australian Cattle Council : Yearbook 2008
page 62 C aTTL e COUNCIL OF a USTR a LI a Y ea RBOOK 2008 The NT cattle herd grew to 2 million head in 2007 and cattle numbers shipped through the port of Darwin rose to 283,000 head which was considerably higher than last year. The pastoral industry maintained its status as the Territory’s third largest GDP earner, raking in $400 million in direct benefits, and with a roll-on effect worth about $880 million for the local economy. Our members remain optimistic about the future, as they position themselves for predicted future expansion in both our domestic and export markets. NT Cattlemen’s association remains strong, focused and vocal in lobbying for the rights of its members, and it also maintains its unique position of covering at least 98 per cent of the NT cattle herd on its membership books. Cattle export matters, Drought conditions, local government reform, unacceptable beef roads and environmental matters have been continuing key issues for Territory pastoralists during 2007. With 47% of the total NT production destined for the export trade in asia, the northern beef industry continues to focus on partnerships and programs to strengthen this trade. Once again the export industry program has delivered a successful market development and promotional program in key South east asian trading markets – congratulations to the MLA/Livecorp joint program. LOCaL gOveRNMeNT ReFORM In October 2006 the NT Minister for Local government announced a new local government reform package. This local government reform package in the Northern Territory will involve the establishment of an experimental framework of Municipal and Shire councils that will incorporate the whole of the NT by 1 July 2008. presently only 2% of the NT is incorporated in local government including the 4 major urban regions of the NT. Local government reform in the Northern Territory has far-reaching implications for the business community. Reforms of this magnitude will have long lasting effects on the Territory’s economic and social sustainability. The pastoral Industry, as part of a large group of business and community groups, have a number of concerns about the reforms and the lack of consultation with the wider community. In particular, some of the reform proposals put forward by the NT government and other stakeholders would harm the pastoral Sector and business community, and as a consequence, the NT economy. The association has called on the NT government to slow down and get the process and reforms right, for the benefit all Territorians eNvIRONMeNTaL MaTTeRS The association called on the NT government to stop playing political games with the Douglas Daly Region and has requested that the NT government heed the hardship suffered by farmers of the Douglas Daly as a result of three successive moratoriums on land clearing. The association has asked that the pastoralists of the Douglas Daly be considered as a special case and exempted from the latest moratorium on land clearing on the basis of scientific evidence provided to government by its own departments, by two committees, and by an NTCa adaptive Management plan prepared in conjunction with the government that small scale farming and cattle grazing in the district can be carried out sustainably. Currently less than 5% of the Daly Region is cleared, which is hardly the ‘destruction’ portrayed by out of context pictures in environmentalists’ advertising. What’s more, cleared land is planted with improved pastures guided by significant scientific research from institutions such as the government’s Douglas Daly Research Farm (DpIFM). The association will continue to call on government to allow land development for pasture production so that industry can meet its commitments to our Se asian customers. DROUgHT Central australian pastoralists are faced with the 4th and 5th year of severe drought conditions with little to no rain over the past 36 months. With only 12 properties declared in the 2nd year of drought under the NT Northern Territory Cattlemen’s association as the president of the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s association (NTCa), I am delighted to report that the northern industry is in good shape and getting stronger every year. Roy Chisholm, President, NTCA