Author Topic: AACo abattoir 'to make Darwin a hub'  (Read 1076 times)

Export News Tasmania

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Re: AACo abattoir 'to make Darwin a hub'
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2013, 06:09:58 PM »
SERIOUSLY? Any disgrace lies with the Indonesians, along with the farmers, exporters and government who KNOWINGLY sent - and still send - our animals to be tortured in these foreign hellholes.

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AACo abattoir 'to make Darwin a hub'
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2013, 06:06:31 PM »
AUSTRALIAN Agricultural Co and Nufarm chairman Donald McGauchie wants to make Darwin a new export hub to ship fresh dairy, meat and seafood products to Indonesia and its neighbours to help deliver on a goal to double the value of Australia's food production in the next 20 years. 

Mr McGauchie, who is also a director of takeover target GrainCorp and a former board member of the Reserve Bank of Australia, said Kevin Rudd's visit to Indonesia last week had made important first steps towards rebuilding the crippled live export cattle trade after Australia had "disgraced itself" over the affair.

He also said the lower Australian dollar had already provided a boost to the embattled beef industry over the past month, but warned it could not be seen by any means as a "silver bullet" for the sector's woes.

In a wide-ranging interview before an address to the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia lunch in Melbourne today, Mr McGauchie said he hoped AACo's decision to build an abattoir near Darwin -- the first major beef processing facility in northern Australia -- would open up opportunities for other industries to use the northern capital as an export hub.

"When we build our abattoir in Darwin, we will increase the demand for refrigerated container capacity in the Darwin port. We already have some commitments from the Northern Territory government to build more capacity. That then opens up the opportunities for other industries," Mr McGauchie said.

"Our northern capital is closer to Jakarta than Sydney and we need to start using that proximity to our advantage. If we invest in the right infrastructure we have the capability to put fresh beef and seafood on the tables of Indonesian businessmen in Jakarta. Product that's chilled, not frozen and, therefore, worth more as an export product."

AACo's $85 million Darwin abattoir and meat-packing facility is expected to process about 200,000 head of cattle a year when fully operational next year.

After numerous failed discussions with potential joint-venture partners to back the project and assist with the company's stretched balance sheet, AACo said in May that the new facility would be funded internally using the proceeds from the sale of two of its properties in Queensland: Brighton Downs and Adelong.

"We've got the land, the approvals, done the civil works, we are just looking at the project to see it is the right design and size. Our plan is to push ahead with it in the near future," he said.

It has been estimated that Australia could more than double the real value of agriculture exports by 2050 from $35 billion to $73bn.

But Mr McGauchie said this could be done in 20 years if the right investments were made in infrastructure, research and development and the government made more progress in opening access through free trade agreements with China and Korea.

"Currently Australia feeds 60 million people. If we target 100 million wealthy people, that is only a relatively small part of the totally available market. So we can concentrate on those things," he said.

While the quality of Australian produce was good, he said it could be better and "we need to be aiming at that. What we are finding in the Asian market is that people really respect brands and they value brands."

Victorian Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh said recently that if Australian beef and lamb producers wanted better value in the supply chain, they needed to be more identifiable.

In March, AACo delivered a full-year net loss of $8.4m after being hammered by the government's suspension of live cattle exports to Indonesia in 2011. There has also been speculation that the underperforming company could be privatised, which has been denied by management.

Before the Prime Minister's visit to Indonesia last week, Indonesian ambassador Nadjib Riphat Kesoema said his country wanted guarantees that there would be no future bans by Australia. ," Mr McGauchie said: "We disgraced ourselves in the way we treated the Indonesians over live cattle. I can't think of an episode where supposed good neighbours behaved so badly.

"We have to rebuild trust. It is down the snake and slowly up the stairs when you do something like that. It won't come overnight."

But he said Mr Rudd's visit "started to do that".

"There is no doubt the current PM has a much better understanding of what went wrong and the need to rebuild it," he said.

The weakening dollar has boosted agricultural stocks like AACo and the rural sector in general over the past month, making it much more competitive in targeting export markets.

"The dollar has changed the dynamics enormously," Mr McGauchie said. "We are now 15 per cent more competitive than we were three months ago. That won't be reflected in cattle prices for some time. It is certainly reflected in beef prices, but not cattle yet. However, it will be."

But he noted it would not be a panacea for a sector that was still heavily indebted and battling oversupply in northern Australia.

"There is always a risk people are looking for a silver bullet," he said. "So when it doesn't change everything straight away, they get even more despondent."

« Last Edit: July 14, 2013, 06:15:21 PM by WA Export News »