Mitchell sees a future in northern cattle industry
The man who revolutionised advertising in Australia is expanding his cattle station investments in the Kimberley and predicting a bright future for the pastoral industry.
Advertising guru Harold Mitchell now owns three stations and leases part of two others.
Mr Mitchell has not ruled out increasing his holdings after buying Margaret River Station for $4.3 million to add to Bulka and Yougawalla stations, which he owns in partnership with Seven West Media director Doug Flynn and Haydn Sale.
He said the live cattle trade would quickly bounce back to historically high levels if industry and government worked together to foster close ties with Asian markets.
Mr Mitchell has been a key sounding board for the Federal Government in its attempts to rebuild the live cattle trade with Indonesia in recent weeks.
Indonesia is set to relax its live cattle import quotas after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd visited Jakarta and promised to inject millions of dollars into bolstering the archipelago’s domestic beef industry.
Mr Rudd said Australia would invest $60 million towards an Australia-Indonesia Red Meat Forum.
Pastoralists are still counting the cost of the Government’s snap decision to suspend live exports for about three months in 2011 because of animal welfare concerns.
The export ban created lingering doubts about the reliability of exports from Australia and prompted Indonesia to focus on local supply and imports from other countries.
Mr Mitchell signalled an end to mistrust and a return to the peaks of 2009, when 750,000 cattle were exported to Indonesia. He said moves by Mr Rudd in the past days had changed the relationship between the two countries dramatically.
“There is goodwill on the part of Australia and there has always has been goodwill in Indonesia,” he said.
Asked if he was concerned about the impact on trade of coalition threats to turn back asylum-seeker boats and crack down on foreign investment, Mr Mitchell said: “It is important that we act as very good neighbours in our region.
“All of our messages of friendship have to be co-ordinated and we need to understand each other.
“We must realise that Asia will be responsible for 50 per cent of the world’s wealth by 2050 and that hasn’t happened for 400 years.
“We have to understand all of the markets in Asia, build those markets with respect and know that everything that we do is linked.”
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