No quick fix to export ban: Redman

29 Jun, 2011 12:03 PM
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Jack Burton (left), Kilto station, Kirsty Forshaw, Nita Downs station, Michael Percy, Yalleen Station, Damian Forshaw, Agriculture and Food Minister Terry Redman, Mining and Pastoral MLC Wendy Duncan, WA Premier Colin Barnett and Member for Geraldton Ian Blayney.
Jack Burton (left), Kilto station, Kirsty Forshaw, Nita Downs station, Michael Percy, Yalleen Station, Damian Forshaw, Agriculture and Food Minister Terry Redman, Mining and Pastoral MLC Wendy Duncan, WA Premier Colin Barnett and Member for Geraldton Ian Blayney.

AGRICULTURE and Food Minister Terry Redman has warned pastoralists not to expect the trade to Indonesia to open any time in the short term.

A group of pastoralists travelled to Parliament House last week to meet with Mr Redman and WA Premier Colin Barnett.

Jack Burton, Kilto station Broome, Damian and Kirsty Forshaw, Nita Downs station, Broome and Michael Percy, Yalleen station, Pannawonica, were involved in the meeting, while Haydn Sale, Yougawalla station, Fitzroy Crossing, was connected via a teleconference call.

Mr Redman said it was a good chance to sit down with pastoralists and discuss where things were at.

He said the message he got was that producers were pretty much ready to go in terms of getting the trade up and running.

"They have processes put in place and they can track them (cattle) in accordance with what Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig is asking for," Mr Redman said.

"But the barrier now appears to be a political one and it is about the relationship between Indonesia and Australia and it is about the expectation gap between what Minister Ludwig wants to get in place to meet the standard that he wants and the Indonesian Government feels it needs to do in order to get the trade happening. That's the gap which needs to be closed up."

Mr Redman said WA had offered resources to Indonesia to support it in its decision-making process.

"We will, of course, also offer support to the Indonesian embassy in Jakarta along the same lines and of course to the Federal Government," Mr Redman said.

"I have also had conversations with the Northern Territory government earlier this week so that we can be on the same page in terms of a response as States."

Mr Redman said the Federal Government held the key to the future of the industry and had a lot of work to do to get the Indonesian-Australian relationship back on track.

"From my perspective I also need to be up front with industry that if we land a really good outcome in the next couple of months, there is still going to be a significant hit to industry," he said.

"Even a good outcome is still only about 40 per cent of where it was before.

"Industry still needs to do more to manage stock which would usually go to the Indonesian market and need to find a home."

Mr Redman said the Premier was keen to hear from pastoralists about the impact on them, prior to last Friday's meeting with Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

He said the Federal Government was now starting to see the potential barriers arising as a result of the decision to ban live export, with exporting permits due to expire today.

Mr Redman said he was worried Indonesia would find other avenues to source its beef.

"They are starting to look at other avenues to get their beef now because they have their own food security issue to address," he said.

"The only glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel is if supply pressure is put on Indonesia and they need to source stock to meet their needs quickly and then that may see Australia re-emerge."

Mr Redman said he was encouraged by Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd's decision to travel to Indonesia on July 8 and 9 but believes it was far too late.

"I would like to see a clear signal from Prime Minister Gillard that she will either go or either phone and signal to the Indonesian Government that the trade has her full support," he said.

"I think the Federal Government are reeling from making a decision they didn't fully comprehend."

He said he had no confidence on setting a timeframe as to when the live trade may reopen.

"There is a lot to be done in order to get it going and I am not convinced it is going to happen soon," he said.

"And as time goes on two things happen.

"One is the chance of getting stock away this year becomes less and less and the second is it gives Indonesia more time to source other markets and permanently puts us out of those market options."

Ms Forshaw said it was good to see the State Government up to speed on the situation and eager to find a solution.

"We walked away feeling quite confident that the State Government understood what was happening," Ms Forshaw said.

"We got an idea of how it works from its end and it has got an idea of how it works from our end."

Mr Burton said the State Government had been great so far.

"We have got a 100pc commitment from our State Government that they support us and they support agriculture in WA and Australia," he said.

"The other thing that came out of the meeting was that of the Federal Government's inability to sort the issue out was frustrating our State Government.

"Premier Barnett came in to get as much information as he could to take it to the Prime Minister which he did, but we are obviously dealing with a Federal Government who has no understanding of agriculture and the impact of its decision."

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