Help needed for Northern beef industry

North Queensland based Senator Ian Macdonald again called for desperately needed assistance for the Northern beef industry in the Senate today.

Senator Macdonald said, speaking on Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Amendment Bill, that Northern beef producers were on their knees and it was vital that some assistance be offered to them if their survival were to be assured.

I am not calling for assistance for assistance sake, he said.

The beef producers are not in this situation through any fault of their own, or because of some international decision like Holden. They are in this position because of the criminally stupid decision of the previous government to stop the live export trade for no good reason except to appease the Greens.

That destructive and dangerous decision, followed by a severe drought, has destroyed the Northern cattle industry and the myriad businesses which relied on it, leaving Northern Australia in a dire situation.

Senator Macdonald said that while the new government had taken some steps to improve the situation, there was still a great need in the North for assistance.

It is not necessarily direct assistance which is needed, but help and facilitation with the restructuring of debt and things like that, he said.

Northern Australia has just five per cent of Australias population, but produces more than 50 per cent of the nations export earnings.

Assistant Treasurer, Senator Arthur Sinodinos, said that his Department and several other Departments were looking at ways of providing assistance to the cattle industry.

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