The Palaszczuk Government has released a three-year strategy to strengthen and grow Queensland’s $1 billion beef processing industry, securing its position as the largest in Australia.
It comes as more than $90 million in grants and concessional loans helps flood-ravaged communities in north and north-west Queensland to get back on their feet.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the annual RNA Exhibition in Brisbane was an ideal time and place to release the beef strategy, while also reflecting on the recovery challenge being met by flood devastated producers and the encouraging export figures.
“Beef processing, one of the state’s largest manufacturing industries, directly employs around 10,000 workers, many in regional communities,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“The industry is integral to the total beef cattle supply chain, from regional producers to shipping ports, and we have developed the strategy in consultation with major beef processors and industry representatives.”
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the Queensland Beef Processing Strategy 2019-2022 was a blueprint for Queensland to be the protein provider of choice for the Asia Pacific region and beyond for the next century.
“By enhancing engagement with industry, ensuring the efficient movement of livestock and freight via road and rail, building and retaining a skilled workforce, and investing in supply chain and processing efficiency we will continue to grow this vital industry,” Mr Dick said.
“The beef processing sector will benefit from manufacturing development initiatives under the 10-year advanced Manufacturing Roadmap including new regional manufacturing hubs in Rockhampton, Townsville and Cairns, and the whole-of-state Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Hub.”
Ms Palaszczuk said Queensland and Australia had been shocked by the breadth and extent of the flood catastrophe that devastated communities across the north.
“It was an unprecedented event and it demanded an unprecedented response, and that’s what we have delivered,” the Premier said.
Assistance via the Queensland Rural Industry Development Authority has so far included:
- $78.3M in grants to more than 1100 primary producers;
- $7.2M in grants to 368 small businesses;
- $883,000 in grants to 48 not-for-profit groups;
- 15 Disaster Assistance Loans, worth $3.1M, to primary producers, mainly beef;
- 13 Disaster Assistance Loans worth $1.9M and 17 Essential Working Capital loans worth $1.7M to small businesses.
In addition, a dedicated Queensland Rail team of 400 staff was based in north west Queensland, mounting an 11-week operation to restore the Mount Isa rail line.
More than 200 sites across 300 kilometres of track were repaired, including 38 bridge abutments, the replacement of 47 kilometres of rail and 120,000 tonnes of ballast.
Of the assistance to primary producers, $45M went to beef producers who are rebuilding after hundreds of thousands of head of cattle were lost.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said despite the disaster, beef exports rose $903 million to $5.8 billion in 2018-19.
“This is 18.4 per cent higher than the $4.9 billion last year – an incredible achievement for a state in the grip of prolonged drought and following on from the flooding,” Mr Furner said.
“I travelled to Julia Creek, Richmond, Cloncurry and Hughenden in the immediate aftermath and it was very emotional to listen to people who had been battling hard enough and then have their world washed out from under them,” Mr Furner said.
“To see the great strides they are making now is heart-warming to say the least and makes you proud to call yourself a Queenslander.”