I speak against this motion brought forward by Nationals Senator Canavan, a motion which represents the Nationals' failures to stand up for farming communities to lock in a jobs-rich future for them.
Senator CANAVAN (Queensland-Nationals Whip in the Senate) (16:08):
That the Senate notes:
(a) the approval of Port Alma as a live cattle export facility;
(b) the benefits of providing new export options to producers and the cattle industry in central Queensland;
(c) that in 2014-15, the live cattle export industry contributed $1.4 billion to Australia's economy; and
(d) that lowering transport costs, by providing local export options in addition to the highly important processing industry, will deliver better returns to central Queensland cattle producers by giving access to more markets.
Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (16:09):
I seek leave to make a short statement.
The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.
Senator RHIANNON: This motion again represents the Nationals' failures to stand up for farming communities to lock in a jobs-rich future for them. The deception lies in the figures themselves. I am disputing not the figures that are there but the figures that are left out, because the live export trade represents just 0.4 per cent of Australia's trade exports. It is the chilled box meat trade that is worth 12 times more, and that is where the jobs growth could occur in rural Australia. If the Nationals would stand up for farming communities to create jobs, they could be created across northern Australia by opening the abattoirs, and that is what is so urgently needed. The growth in trade in this sector in the chilled box meat trade, which is growing at an exponential rate, with beef and sheep way ahead of the live export trade.