Senator Matthew Canavan.
Senator Matthew Canavan. Allan Reinikka

Port Alma live exports hinge on a $60,000 ramp

IT SEEMS a $60,000 ramp is all that stands between live exporters and a Port Alma market, but they hope within three months they'll be up and running.

On Thursday Queensland Senator Matt Canavan, along with Member for Keppel Bruce Young, voiced his approval of the plans for a commercial export facility, highlighting the need for more markets so farmers can get better returns.

Mr Young said minimal work needed to be done to get Port Alma ready.

They're looking at earthworks and roadworks that may be required, but the main things that need to be done are implementing a procedure to clean any mess and a ramp, estimated at $60,000.

Teys Australia, a major employer in the area, previously expressed concerns about job losses at their abattoir if cattle were sent overseas to be killed.

But Mr Senator Canavan used Townsville, a place with both a meatworks and a live cattle market, to explain why he believes the proposal will work.

"I know there's been a little bit of controversy about doing it here in Rocky, but I think Rocky is the beef capital of Australia and as the beef capital it should be home to all parts of the supply chain," Mr Senator Canavan said.

"We don't make one industry stronger by making another industry weaker; we can have a strong meat processing sector and a strong live export sector.

"I believe our beef producers in Queensland need better returns with better results, and the only way they're going to get better returns is through more markets."

Many farmers were forced to destock during the drought, and Senator Mr Canavan said opening up the market will give farmers the confidence to restock knowing they have a supply outlet.

He also said animal welfare concerns are covered by ESCAS, a Federal Government policy covering cattle from paddock to slaughterhouse.

Mr Young said in the past 20 years 29 meatworks have closed, creating a need for other avenues.

"Every producer wants to see their cattle value added through a carton, but the reality is we don't have enough processors to get that happening," he said.



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