STAUNCH supporter of the live export trade, Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter, has described the push to end the trade as "disastrous".
His comments follow the release of a report on Tuesday by the World Society for the Protection for Animals calling for the federal government to back a move towards a chilled and frozen meat trade.
The report urges the federal government to help fund a meat processing facility in Northern Australia.
It said that 1,300 jobs could be created if 400,000 head of cattle were slaughtered locally rather than being shipped to Indonesia.
This would inject $204 million into the Australian economy, it added.
The report said the uncertainty of live cattle exports and restricted beef quotas provided a strong incentive for processing locally rather than exporting.
Last week an independent report earmarked Cloncurry as the preferred site for a North West meatworks, based on location, return for investment, costs and road infrastructure.
The release of the report also follows the Greens push for a ban on live exports.
Mr Katter said he did not believe Australia would ever move to end the trade.
"Indonesia is not going to buy our meat if there's a ban on live exports," he said
"They can't afford it.
"I think that the Greens have had their day in the sun and I think the pendulum will swing the other way."
Peak rural lobby group AgForce reiterated the importance of the live export industry.
"There is no doubt live exports are fundamental to the success of many primary production enterprises and the livelihood of the families who operate these businesses," AgForce president, Brent Finlay, said.
"Destructive behaviours aimed at shutting down the industry will only end in countries with little regulation filling market requirements, ultimately creating broad scale animal welfare disasters."
Between 2010-11, the value of live cattle exports was $660 million, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Last year around 700,000 cattle were exported, with more than 410,000 going to Indonesia.
North West Star
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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