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Estimates: Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee (Department of Agriculture)

Estimates & Committees
Lee Rhiannon 23 Feb 2015

Senator RHIANNON: Which countries currently import kangaroo products?

Dr V Findlay : There are 68 countries. Just let me find my list, but I am not sure you want me to read out all 68.

Senator RHIANNON: No, I do not want you to read them out. Could you take it on notice, and could it include what kangaroo product is imported, the weight of the imports for each of those products and the financial value of each product, and could that be since June 2013?

Dr V Findlay : Yes, we have that information available.

Senator RHIANNON: What work are you undertaking to open up the Chinese market to kangaroo products?

Mr Read : We are still in dialogue with the Chinese around opening the market for kangaroo access.

Senator RHIANNON: When you say 'dialogue', what issues are you currently covering with them?

Mr Read : There are a range of technical issues that we need to resolve. We have a protocol that needs finalisation in relation to kangaroo meat. There are a number of agencies that still need to give approval within China.

Senator RHIANNON: When you say 'technical issues', what does that cover?

Mr Read : It covers what I was describing in terms of we have a protocol for the preparation of kangaroo into China. That protocol needs to be finalised with the Chinese in terms of the detail contained in that protocol.

Senator RHIANNON: But when you say 'technical issues', you have not given any examples.

Mr Read : The technical issues relate to what I am talking about in the protocol. There will be a range of emphases around certificates, what is contained on those certificates, animal welfare, the processing parameters in terms of kangaroo.

Senator RHIANNON: When you say 'animal welfare', do you mean that some will be imported live?

Mr Read : No, I mean the humane slaughter of kangaroos.

Senator RHIANNON: In Australia?

Mr Read : Yes.

Senator RHIANNON: Is Macro Meats an approved exporter to China? Are you at that stage yet?

Mr Read : There is no kangaroo access to China at this time.

Senator RHIANNON: But are you already looking at exporters at this stage and have any been approved?

Mr Read : Not until we actually get the details of what is required for China finalised.

Senator RHIANNON: Have you had talks with any exporters about the potential for the Chinese market?

Mr Read : We have had a number of discussions with the kangaroo industry around the opportunities for China.

Senator RHIANNON: When you have discussed it with the kangaroo industry have you got into the specifics of which companies may be able to meet that trade?

Mr Read : No, we have not.

Dr Grimes : It is clear that there are companies that are interested in that trade. You have mentioned Macro Meats. It is one of the companies that have indicated an interest in that trade.

Senator RHIANNON: So it has indicated an interest in that trade?

Dr Grimes : Yes.

Senator RHIANNON: Considering what happened with Macro Meats in Russia, how are you responding to that experience with what is now being attempted in China?

Mr Read : In terms of the incidents in Russia, we have done thorough reviews of the systems that are operating at that particular plant. I do not have the detail with me, but there were a range of corresponding corrective actions put in place to reduce the likelihood of that sort of occurrence again.

Senator RHIANNON: Could you take on notice what those corrective actions were, please?

Mr Read : Certainly.

Senator RHIANNON: Which countries have raised concerns about the contamination of kangaroo meat since 2013?

Mr Read : Can we take it on notice?

Senator RHIANNON: If you could take that on notice and as part of that what are the specific concerns raised by each country, and also how you have responded to that? What is being done now to reopen the kangaroo products market in Russia?

Mr Read : We are communicating with Rosselkhoznadzor, which is a veterinary agency in Russia, as to the corrective actions that have been put in place with the Australian plant.

Senator RHIANNON: You spoke in the past tense, I think, so you are saying corrective actions have already been implemented?

Mr Read : Correct.

Senator RHIANNON: And they are satisfactory?

Mr Read : Yes.

Senator RHIANNON: And what were they?

Mr Read : As I said, I do not have those details, but we will provide those on notice.

Senator RHIANNON: Thank you.

CHAIR: Was that just entirely on the killing floor?

Mr Read : It was in the plant itself, yes.

Senator RHIANNON: Sorry; can I just clarify? I thought it was about the meat. There was contamination before it was exported from Australia. Are you saying that the contamination occurred in Russia?

CHAIR: No.

Mr Read : The issue in Russia, and again it is on notice, as I recall—and I may need to correct this—I think there was a micro-detection issue on the product. I think we have gone back to the plant because the obligations in terms of the product run right through to the point of harvest. We have looked at that full supply chain and identified areas where we can actually get improvements to lower some of those micro-levels that may well have been present. We will provide that information on notice.

Senator RHIANNON: So it was from Australia, and that is what you think. You will take it on notice to clarify what you have done to eliminate that problem?

Mr Read : Correct.

Senator RHIANNON: Thank you. I just wanted to turn to this report with an amazing title California, New York, the world and kangaroos.

CHAIR: I remember that one.

Senator RHIANNON: In this RIRDC 2010 report it states that extensive supportive documentation on the kangaroo industry was supplied by the project. You include five dot points on the supportive documentation. Could you take that on notice and could that be supplied to the committee?

Senator Colbeck: I think you are asking a question of a different agency. That is a RIRDC report. They are on later tonight.

Senator RHIANNON: They are on tonight?

Senator Colbeck: That is not a departmental report. That is a report by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation. I do not think it is appropriate to put that question to the department.

Senator RHIANNON: Okay.

Senator Colbeck: That should be a question for RIRDC.

Senator RHIANNON: Thank you. 

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