Investors discuss live export of beef to Chinese market
THE live export market has been shot down by speakers at Friday's forum on Chinese Investment in Australian Agriculture.
The forum, held by Capricorn Enterprise in Rockhampton, was addressed by keynote speakers from global consultancy group KPMG, law firm Corrs, Chambers, Westgarth, and the Australia China Business Council.
Recently there has been a push to create a live export market out of Port Alma to give local producers another market for their cattle, with China one destination identified.
But Stephanie Daveson, partner at Corrs, Chambers, Westgarth, doesn't see live export as the future.
Instead she identified the need for bigger processing facilities in CQ, and agreed another abattoir in Emerald would be a step in the right direction.
"I think our processing capacity is an issue," she said.
"I think it's disaggregated and probably not currently best of breed in terms of technology.
"You've got to have the processing facility with the agricultural assets."
But Keppel MP Bruce Young, who has been the driving force behind the Port Alma proposal, disagreed.
"Every primary producer wants to see cattle go out in a box," he said.
"But the reality is, especially with northern part of Australia, it is essential live export is part of the mix.
"It is pivotal for northern Australia to have that option."
Australia China Business Council president Stephen Abbott agreed, and said refrigerated air freight was the way he saw the Chinese market moving.
"I just don't think they have the facilities to run huge herds of (exported) cattle," he said.
"Beef is a new thing for them and it's seen as a premium product, it's seen as a quality product.
"From 2012 to 2013 beef increased 400%… they'll be eating more and more of it."