Australian Meat Industry Council calls on new Federal Ag Minister to work with sector on ‘crucial’ issues

Headshot of Adam Poulsen
Adam PoulsenCountryman
Workforce shortages, biosecurity, trade barriers, logistical challenges and sustainability have been identified as key issues facing the red meat sector.
Camera IconWorkforce shortages, biosecurity, trade barriers, logistical challenges and sustainability have been identified as key issues facing the red meat sector. Credit: Supplied/Supplied

The Australian Meat Industry Council is calling on newly-minted Federal Agriculture Minister Murray Watt to work with industry to tackle key problems facing the sector, including labour shortages, biosecurity and trade barriers.

The Albanese Government announced on Tuesday that Mr Murray — a Queensland senator and former lawyer — would fill the role vacated by new Nationals leader David Littleproud after the Coalition’s election loss.

AMIC, the national peak body for Australia’s post-farmgate meat industry, released a statement Wednesday outlining what it hoped the new Labor ministry would bring to the table.

“We’re calling on each of these ministers, as well as the new leadership team, to recognise the Australian food chain, recognise the importance of the Australian meat supply chain, and work with us to address our key issues as a priority,” AMIC chief executive Patrick Hutchinson said.

“(These include) workforce shortages, biosecurity, trade barriers, logistical challenges and sustainability.”

Other ministerial portfolios revealed Tuesday included Environment and Water (Tanya Plibersek), Small Business (Julie Collins) and Employment and Workplace Relations (Tony Burke).

Murray Watt, pictured, is the new Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
Camera IconMurray Watt, pictured, is the new Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. Credit: SUPPLIED/LUKAS COCH/AAPIMAGE

Mr Hutchinson said AMIC stood ready as a “trusted adviser” to all ministers on issues affecting Australia’s meat and livestock industries.

“We’re Australia’s biggest agricultural exporter, one of Australia’s largest manufacturers, and one of the largest rural and regional employers,” he said.

“The impacts of COVID-19 over the past two years on the food supply chain, and in particular the Omicron impacts in January this year, showed the huge impact and strain on the Australian supply chain due to worker shortage.

“This is a serious impact on food security and the viability of our farmers.

“If we do not have an adequate workforce to manage the livestock supply and throughput process, which is about to return to record levels, the entire industry will suffer, including Australian farmers.”

An spokesperson said AMIC wanted to work closely with the new ministry across a range of portfolios, “notably agriculture, trade, home affairs and immigration, employment, industry, small business, and workplace skills and training”.

Labor’s new ministry was sworn in Wednesday.

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