FEDERAL Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig says the Australian Government is committed to promoting economic diversification in northern Australia, so he's very interested in AACo's proposal to establish an abattoir near Darwin.
Mr Ludwig said the abattoir could assist in providing additional diversification of markets for the cattle producers in northern Australia.
He said he understood that an ACIL Tasman-commissioned study into the economic impact of the proposal found it would be a benefit to the profitability of northern beef producers.
The study found that the main benefit of the proposed AACo abattoir would be in providing a market for excess and cast-for-age female cattle and, as a result, would promote productivity improvement in northern breeding herds.
"However, it is important to understand that the live cattle trade and beef exports meet different needs for our trading partners," a spokesperson said.
"The government remains committed to the live export industry, which continues to work with government to develop markets in line with the requirements under the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock and the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System.
"The Australian Government is committed to the economic diversification of northern Australia.
"It continues to support the AACo proposal as one of the possibilities open to commercial interests.
"AACo is obviously continuing to press ahead with the project and that is a commercial decision for AACo."
Minister Ludwig said world beef imports are projected to be about 300 per cent higher in 2050 than 2007.
The Australian Government plays a role in opening up new markets and maintaining that market access for all our agricultural exports, including boxed beef.
Recent successes include progress on free trade agreements, for example the Malaysia-Australia FTA will see improved market access for some meat products.
"The main markets for Australian beef exports are Japan, the United States and the Republic of Korea, but demand from smaller and emerging markets continues to grow," a spokesperson said.
"Australian boxed beef and veal exports to these markets increased by 3 per cent in 2011-12 to 294,000 tonnes, comprising 31 per cent of total beef export volumes.
"This was an increase of 12 percentage points from five years ago.
"In its September 2012 Australian Commodities, ABARES forecast exports to smaller and emerging markets to increase further in 2012-13 to 313,000 tonnes (shipped weight)."
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