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9 May, 2021

Queensland primed for an improved beef season

With a multi-million-dollar investment in new infrastructure and a raft of international trade initiatives delivered by the Palaszczuk Government, Queensland beef exports are tipped to grow strongly in coming years.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Deputy Premier Steven Miles, Treasurer Cameron Dick and Agriculture Minister Mark Furner visited the Longreach saleyards today as part of the Cabinet’s regional trip out west.

The Premier said construction would soon begin on a major redevelopment of the saleyards which will see 100,000 head of cattle per year pass through the hub.

The Premier said the government was also focused on boosting beef exports from west Queensland, delivering a number of programs to support primary produces in the region.

“We’re working hard to beef up Queensland exports overseas, because we know that increased trade means more jobs and more financial stability here in Longreach and western Queensland,” the Premier said.

“Supporting Queensland’s $6.7 billion beef industry is critical to Queensland’s economic recovery.

“Major upgrades to the Longreach saleyards are a great example. The saleyards are vital to beef exports throughout the state and internationally.

“We’re investing in infrastructure here in Queensland to support primary producers to rebuild and recover from the pandemic.

“We’re also working closely with our contacts overseas to ramp up exports. This is an important part of our economic recovery plan.

“Thanks to the way we’ve responded to the health crisis, there’s growing demand for Queensland produce.

“Our beef exports have remained strong throughout the pandemic, but we have an opportunity to capitalise over the next few years. That’s what we’re going to do.

“We’re looking to bolster our beef exports in a range of markets including Vietnam, Indonesia and Korea where we’ve identified strong potential for growth.”

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said the latest data shows that Australia is on the cusp of an improved beef export season, so we want Queensland to have the best facilities in place.

“After contracting for years, Meat and Livestock Australia’s latest data suggests the national cattle herd will increase by two per cent to 25.2 million head this year,” Mr Miles said.

“The industry is in a rebuild-phase after drought forced cattle numbers to their lowest level in decades. That has been especially hard-felt here in the Central West.” 

Treasurer Cameron Dick said the saleyards will be redeveloped to become the Western Queensland Livestock Exchange (WQLX).

“This project is being delivered through the Palaszczuk Government’s Jobs and Regional Growth Fund and Building our Regions initiatives and is supported by Longreach Regional Council and AAMIG,” Mr Dick said.

“We’re all playing our parts to expand the Exchange (WQLX) to help sell more premium beef as cattle numbers come back on the improved season.

“Adjoining additional railway siding extensions will offer multiple wagon drop-offs giving improved loading and unloading efficiency and offer improved wellbeing for stock.” 

AAMIG is undertaking a four-stage redevelopment of the facilities under a 30-year lease from Longreach Regional Council.

This is all supporting the $3.2 million second stage that will include new cattle weighing infrastructure and drafting facilities, creating seven construction jobs.

The Longreach Exchange dovetails well with AAMIG’s operations at Gracemere Saleyards, near Rockhampton.  It also means an expanded spelling options for movement of cattle north for live export and south to the likes of Roma and beyond.

AAMIG Managing Director Garry Edwards said the project seeks to transform the saleyard into a modern and innovative livestock marketing services centre and will enable the throughput of 100,000 head of cattle each year by 2026.

“The expanded facilities will offer best practice facilities and services that will become a significant economic driver throughout the Longreach region,” Mr Edwards said.

“We expect to start early works by late June.”

Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said Queensland’s beef industry continues to enjoy an international reputation as being clean, safe and with envied world-class food safety and integrity systems in place.

“Despite impacts to trade in some markets occurring during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, our industry maintains a healthy trade with about 70 markets worldwide and has the capacity to diversify and adapt,” Mr Furner said.

“The Longreach saleyards form part of the large and complex infrastructure network supporting the Queensland beef sector. Given Queensland’s size and the geographic scale of the industry, regional saleyards are a key component of that network. 

“This broad infrastructure also enables a flexibility of operations and enhances market competition and efficiency.

“We have already reinforced those opportunities with a highly successful virtual trade mission with Japan and we have more planned with our trading partners this year.”

Longreach Regional Council Mayor Tony Rayner said supporting the redevelopment would ensure important infrastructure is in place to back an essential industry.

“I thank the Queensland Government’s commitment and financial support of this project aimed at strengthening our local economy,” Mayor Rayner said.

They all agreed that once complete, the project would provide economic benefits for the surrounding agricultural industry, agriculture supply chain, local businesses and transport networks.

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