Industry needs united approach

Kate MatthewsCountryman

Pastoralist Jack Burton said a ban on live exports would jeopardise the livelihoods of Kimberley producers.

Speaking ahead of the Gillard Government’s decision to suspend the trade, Mr Burton lent his support to the Australian livestock industry and the producer-owned Meat and Livestock Australia solution to limit cattle supplies to 25 Indonesian abattoirs.

Mr Burton owns Yeeda Pastoral Company, a group of seven stations with more than 50,000 cattle.

“It’s a good outcome for our cattle and no matter what the way forward is, you can’t stop the market. It would be a negative for animal welfare,” he said.

Mr Burton, who sent cattle to Indonesia aboard the Braham Express from Broome on Friday, believed banning live exports to Indonesia would have serious implications for producers, because 60 per cent of trade would end up mostly in the domestic market, if not taken by alternative export markets.

“It doesn’t matter if you are a beef producer in Victoria and think you are a long way from this industry — there will be flow-on effects,” he said.

The only winner in Mr Burton’s eyes would be local processors capitalising on a flooded market, in which prices could drop by 20 to 35 per cent.

“I sit in both camps as a producer exporting and as a processor, but I’m disgusted at the processors supporting independent MP Andrew Wilkie against the trade,” he said.

“Local processing cannot and will not replace all live export.”

Mr Burton will be opening a small pilot abattoir on Kilto station near Broome at the end of the year.

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