A NEW industry report has provided a snapshot of the Australian red meat sector’s economic output and leading performance on the global exporting stage exceeding traditional powerhouses like the US and Brazil.
The ‘State of the Industry Report: The Australian Red Meat and Livestock Industry’ was compiled by Ernst & Young, which was engaged on the instructions of the Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), and contains information current as of June 30 this year.
It is due to be unveiled at Parliament House in Canberra today before national media and a host of federal politicians including Federal Agriculture and Water Resources Minister Barnaby Joyce.
The Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC) said the report was commissioned by MLA at its request and that of its member councils, like the Cattle Council of Australia.
In the report’s foreword, RMAC Chair Don Mackay said comprising the beef, sheepmeat and goatmeat sectors, the Australian red meat industry feeds 24 million Australians, provided 405,000 Australian jobs through direct and indirect employment and generated $15 billion in export revenue through the supply of more than 100 global markets.
“Through 75,000 Australian businesses we contribute $18 billion to Gross Domestic Product,” he said.
“It is a strong and vibrant industry that puts consumers first
“An industry committed to the ethical and sustainable production of safe, high quality food.
“An industry that is embracing innovation and technology to help drive our competitiveness and profitability in a global marketplace.
“Our domestic market remains the single biggest and most important market for red meat, with Australian consumers eating more than four times the amount of beef and veal and six times the amount of sheep and mutton when compared to global consumption averages.”
But in a statement accompanying the release, Mr Mackay also took the opportunity to continue his war of words with federal politicians and politicise the report by taking a backhanded swipe at Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie amid tensions that surfaced during the recent Senate inquiry into competition concerns in the beef supply chain.
He said inaction and “conflict” with government in the red meat sector was costing the Australian economy money and jobs.
“We’ve seen recent examples of the Australian red meat industry being damaged by attacks from crusading politicians who are more interested in making a name for themselves than protecting Australian jobs,” he said.
“The reality is despite an incredibly challenging environment out there, we’ve seen a 5pc growth in businesses across the chain, there are more processing businesses now than four years ago and we’ve seen a 48pc rise in saleyard prices.
“We know the key, tangible outcomes that government can deliver that help us be a bigger and better red meat nation for businesses and workers alike.”
In the foreword, Mr Mackay said looking beyond Australian shores, “we are a boutique but mighty producer of red meat to the world”, exporting 74 per cent of all beef and veal produced in Australia, 72pc of all sheepmeat and 92pc of all goatmeat in 2015.
“To put this in perspective, in this same period, Australia was the world’s largest exporter of beef and veal worldwide followed by agricultural powerhouses like India, Brazil, the United States and New Zealand; and the second largest sheepmeat exporter behind New Zealand,” he said.
“We also exported over 1 million head of live Australian cattle and nearly 2 million head of sheep in 2016.
“These export accomplishments are all the more astonishing considering Australia’s domestic herd size represents only 2pc of the global beef herd and 6pc of the global sheep flock.
“Australia’s goat production is also contributing strongly to the domestic economy, with Australia thelargest global exporter of goatmeat in 2013 and average prices increasing by 177pc between 2013 and 2016.”
Mr Mackay said the report provided the industry, state and national decision-makers with the facts on the Australian red meat industry.
“As such, it’s a powerful resource to assist in the development of good policy to ensure the prosperity and sustainability of the industry into the future,” he said.
“We must be more collaborative, more innovative and continue to place our customers and consumers at the heart of our thinking, reform agenda and decision making.
“Ultimately, our red meat industry’s success is Australia’s success.”
RMAC said the report showed the value of Australian red meat and livestock exports increased by almost $6b over the past five years from $9.2b in 2011-12 to $15.1b in 2015-16.
It also showed that a once niche industry in goat meat had experienced a significant boom with Australia now a leading supplier of global goat meat, enjoying a recent price increase of 177 per cent and exporting over 27,000 tonnes of goat in 2016 alone.
Key report statistics
Australia’s herd size declined by 6pc between 2014 and 2015 to 27.4 million head
Producer’s share of retail dollar in 2016 increased to 47pc
Between 1996 and 2015, saleyard prices increased by 129pc while retail prices increased by 75pc
The rate of return for cattle producers in the Northern region increased to 3.5pc and 2.4pc for the those in the Southern region in 2016-17
In 2016, Australia’s top three beef export destinations (on a volume basis) were Japan (264,324 tonnes), United States (242,012 tonnes) and South Korea (179,854 tonnes)
Australia’s flock reached a record low of 70.9 million in 2015, declining by 22pc between 2006 and 2015
Between 1996 and 2015, saleyard prices increased by 180pc while retail prices increased by 126pc
Producers share of retail dollar decreased to 55pc in 2016
Australian sheep farm cash income increased by 37pc between 2014 and 2017
Between 2013 and 2015, goat prices increased by 117pc
Production of goatmeat expanded by 88pc over the 10 year period ending 2016
Between 2006 and 2015, Australian goat slaughter increased by 78pc
Between 2012 and 2016, Australian goatmeat exports decreased by 8pc