David Stoate, Anna Plains station, has questioned some of the assumptions made in the report by ACIL Tasman and commissioned by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).A REPORT commissioned by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) claims some northern cattle producers would double their profits if a processing facility was built in the north.
The report, An economic analysis of live cattle exports, was done by economic consultancy ACIL Tasman and was released last week.
It discusses transforming the northern Australia beef trade from live export reliant to chilled exports.
The report said if the facility processed 400,000 cattle annually domestically it would contribute an additional $204 million to the regional economy and create 1300 jobs in the region.
It claimed it would also enable some northern cattle producers to increase their earnings before interest and tax by up to 245 per cent, by selling animals heavier than 350kg.
But industry has questioned some of the figures in the report, with exporters and pastoralists doubting a processing facility in the north would have such an impact.
The report does admit that it did not “seek to identify a specific location for a facility or to establish a definitive statement of the financial returns”.
David Stoate, Anna Plains station, said there was nothing new in the report.
“I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with the report but it pretty much just says that the north would be better off with an abattoir,” Mr Stoate said.
“It might be, and live export may work hand-in-hand with an abattoir.”
But Mr Stoate doubted whether some of the figures which were included in the report were accurate or realistic.
“It depends on some of the assumptions you put in the report,” he said.
“I mean it could lead to an increase in earnings and create more markets for your cattle and create higher prices but whether it actually would go up that much I would doubt.
“They were looking at $1.34 a kilogram for cattle and we are getting about $1/kg at the moment, so you are assuming a 30pc increase and you are assuming the processor is going to generate that, which is highly unlikely.
“You would expect some increase but probably not 30pc.”
He said the report showed no new information.
“They are easy things to write down but harder to put into practice,” he said.
WA Live Exporters Association chairman John Edwards also questioned the figures in the report.
“The live export prices are way under budget and I think if what they are proposing is so good, people would have picked up on that long before now,” Mr Edwards said.
“There are inherent problems with building a northern Australian abattoir, be it at northern WA or the Northern Territory. There are problems of seasonality issues with supply, seasonality issues with labour, and all of the infrastructure which goes with trying to move boxed meat.”
Mr Edwards said an abattoir in the north would face similar issues to that of current southern abattoirs, particularly in terms of labour.
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