An insight into the Australian Cattle Industry: The real story!

I have just spent the last 3 days at Mundabullangana Station in our North West with Mike Fletcher. We went there to hear how the Government’s knee jerk reaction has affected this station and to do our bit to get the word out about what everyone has not heard yet!

Mundabullengana is owned by some long time business associates of mine, the Thompson family, who are all self made and very hard workers. They are also heavily involved in the crayfishing industry in Cervantes.

Mike Thompson tell us how the knee jerk reaction of the Australian Government to the 4 corners show has seriously compromised the future of his families business, a business they have owned for 15 years and built up every year over that time. Munda is a 550,000 acre cattle farm that was founded back in 1868 as a sheep station by a Scottish family by the name of Mc Taggart. About 20 years ago the farm swung over to cattle and is one of the many northern farms affected by the overnight shut down of their industry.

I wonder if the Julia Gillard and her so called Government thought for a second about the heritage and history involved in this Primary Industry before she/they shut it down. Did they also consider that the cattle industry has been exporting $1.2 billion dollars annually for Australia? The mining boom will not last for ever, so why kill a very viable export when so many other exporters are struggling just now? Austal Ships as an example is down to a shadow of its former self due to the high Aussy dollar and here we have an industry that was surviving during the GFC and the Government chooses to shut it down….UNBELIEVABLE!

Not long after we first arrived at the farm, we watched a muster where the cattle we brought in for the injections and general tidy up and we saw first hand how well trained the cattle were and how you could easily walk amongst the cattle without unsettling them. Mike Thompson says that all Australian Farmers go out of their way to ensure that the Australian bred cattle were easy to handle so that they did not need to be beaten or treated badly to handle them. Mike and I both walked in amongst the cattle on numerous occasions over the weekend and we never felt threatened in any way.

Mike goes on to say that they were all shocked at what was shown by 4 corners, but he also goes onto say that like anything it is easy to show the very worst of an industry if you set out to do so. He says that there are numerous abattoirs in Indonesia that operate under world standards. He then goes onto say that the Australian Cattle are treated as good, if not better than any cattle in the world, so why is it that the Government chose to penalise them? Why is it that the Foreign Affairs Minister has not been to Indonesia to discuss an accrediation process? Why has not Julia Gillard or the Minister for Agriculture stepped in to sort this mess out?

There is a myth being circulated by the Greens and the vocal minority groups who brought this story to air that the answer is to process the beef in Australia and then we can control how they are processed as well as value adding to our country by employing more Australians.

This is a total fallacy. The reason why the cattle have to be exported live is that Indonesia is a very poor country and where these beef go, there are no fridges or any way to keep the food. The other reason is that the high Australian wages and the High Aussy dollar would make our export beef totally unaffordable for our poor neighbours.

Has any one spared a thought for the poor families in Indonesia who have now had their protein ripped away from them by our Government’s knee jerk reaction?

Another fact is that one of the major Abattoirs in QLD shut its doors last week as they simply cannot make ends meet, so how is it that this MYTH is allowed to circulate?

Has anyone spared a thought for the other industries that rely on the Cattle Industry, such as the trucking firms and the farm hands? Mike says that after this muster he will be laying off most of his farm hands whereas they would normally have another 6 months work. Julia Gillard has offered $3,000,000 to assist the farm hands and $30,000,000 to assist the farms. Both of those figures are an insult! After the $3,000,000 has been distributed each farm hand will receive not much more than the dole and farms like Munda cost $80,000 a month to run!

Of the $30,000,000 Mike and his family will be luck to receive a one off payment of $25,000 as as far and they are concerned the Government can bash it! It is more of an insult that anything! Julia Gillard also made a statement that they should turn to their banks for support! Does Ms Gillard and her Government live in the real world at all? At the moment our cattle farms anywhere in Australia are not worth a cent and no bank is going to lend money to an industry that has such controversy associated with it!

Julia Gillard will go down as the worst Prime Minister this country has ever seen and her Government will certainly be ousted at the very next opportunity! Lets hope that opportunity comes soon before any more irreparable damage is done!

I will be posting more info on this topic for the rest of the week. Mike Fletcher has taken some awesome vision portraying more of what i have said above with a number of candid interviews with Mike and his father Dogga….stay tuned for that as well!

This entry was posted in Australian Cattle Industry and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

50 Responses to An insight into the Australian Cattle Industry: The real story!

  1. Mate you’ve got some great photos there and it’s good to hear the other side of the story! Looking forward to seeing the videos too πŸ™‚

    – paul

  2. Awesome mark. Gotta get the word out.

  3. Well done on trying to give another side to this whole debarcle, will look forward to more posts on this very important debate. Not sure who can really do the job of running this country properly at the moment as I have lost all faith in party politics but a change is in order for sure.

    • In reality Peter, we would have to be better off under the libs again.

      History shows that the country is always the most stable under a liberal leadership and we have to get away from this situation where minority groups are calling the shots.

      • To be honest.. I’m not overly keen on Tony Abbott as PM though.. and I think a lot of people are the same..

        • It’s not really about the Prime Minister but who is behind them Paul and the biggest problem we are facing at the moment is 2 fold. Everyone in Labour seems to be working independently on their own agendas rather than for the National Interest and they are also hamstrung due to the power of the Greens and the Independents!

          Anything would be better than what we have now!

  4. The reason Mark, Rudd has not been across to wirk the situation is if he succeeds it will make Julia look even worse.

    That there is all you ever need to know above Julia and her real intensions.

    I firmly believe she is always looking at herself before country.

    • I totally agree Neal…..everyone in power at the moment are looking after their own selfish interests!

      We need to get back to a situation where the governing body is looking after our national interests and heritage and governing responsibly where issues like the cattle issue are looked into properly and responsible debate is followed through with.

  5. Jamie Nicolaou says:

    All I am going to say about this is “Stop animal cruelty, not live export”!! I’m sick of all the people who are targeting the farmers, saying they don’t care if we go broke, we can all go and get a normal job!!! If we wanted a normal job, we’d have one!!!

    • That is exactly what the farmers are saying Jamie, in fact they go one step further and say to the animal activists and the greens to focus their energy to helping these poorer countries get world wide accredited abattoirs so that the poor can also be comfortable in receiving Australian product that is of an acceptable std.

      What you can say to those people who suggest you ‘get a real
      Job’ is that if farms end up going by the wayside then more people will be coming to live in the city putting more pressure on resources that are already under major pressure and our country areas will become ghost towns and wasteland!

  6. mervfrench says:

    Good work Mark and Mike. There has been quite a bit said about this and station owners have had good time on air and in print. Unfortunately the media is moving on and the story no longer dominates news. I saw something in a paper yesterday and it was on page 14.

    It has become a diplomatic situation now as Indonesia and Asia are looking to Australia as a bad trading partner and unreliable supplier, this will filter thru all types of exports if it is not handled properly.

    It goes from bad to worse !!!! A no show by Rudd in Indonesia has not helped, but he doesn’t want to help Gillard look good in anyway as he is still eyeing off the top job.

    A double disillusion and an election as soon as possible A la Whitlam- Fraser would be good thing right now.

    • History is repeating itself Merv!

      I have not heard the term double disillusion since the demise of the Whitlam Government but I have heard it used many times in the last few weeks.

      That it how things like a double disillusion happen. It starts with a little bit of momentum and then like a wild fire it takes off!

      I intend to be part of the fuel that assists the wild fire process!

  7. I had the pleasure of being on board the True North in the Kimberley with the Thompson family, they are great people. I hope they’re alright, give them my very best Mark and say hi to them.

    I grew up on a cattle farm and agree with Jamie’s “stop animal cruelty, not live export”. I know how hard it is to run a farm, to be a farmer is a 24 hour job and people choose it because they are passionate about animals and farming. If they were not, they would never choose to be farmers. Of course, one can always find a few bad apples.

    The focus must be always, to stop animal cruelty and protect the environment.

    Some nice images and insight here Mark, look forward to what else you and Mike captured up there. Wish I could have been there. I have great experience with cows πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Flembot!

      You are right, the Thompsons are a hard working family with exceptional values and who are typical of the type of people who built this wonderful country.

      They and many others line them are doing it really tough right now.

      They only have enough feed for a month or 2 and they have no where to sell their cattle.

      The local abattoirs are booked up with the local meat trade, so if this situation is not resolved soon then end result could well that the cattle earmarked for export could well simply be shot to save them from starving to death.

      That will put a huge financial strain on them and others like them and if that happens then the Indonesian families will also miss out on their good they have cone to rely on.

      In summary it us a real mess and totally brought on by total mid management by our so called Federal Government!

  8. This is why I don’t really like the greens and their friends:

    GetUp Australia & a group called Markets for Change are mounting a campaign to pull the wool over Australian consumer’s eyes on timber.

    The article below outlines the groups intent to harass Australian companies, using sustainably sourced native timbers for the production of furniture.

    http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/breaking-news/harvey-norman-accused-over-forests/story-e6frg133-1226086741520

    There’s a number important points that neither GetUp or Markets for Change will tell you about this, which are:
    1) The Australian manufacturing sector is uncompetitive to have this furniture made here, hence why timbers are being shipped to China for return as a finished product.
    2) All the timbers they and others are using are all sourced from sustainably managed, renewable, independently certified and audited Australian forests.
    3) The technology and its low cost available in the Chinese manufacturing industry make it far more cost effective to produce there, and at a much higher quality.
    4) Timbers used for furniture permanently store the Carbon (Co2) they have captured from the atmosphere, and the use of these timbers allows more trees to be planted in their place further increasing the carbon pollution reduction and capture undertaken by these important renewable resources.

    • Yes indeed Paul.

      There are often a balanced story out there and I must say that I too have often disagreed with campaigns that Get Up run.

      To the point where I am about to deregister with them.

      If the cattle industry and the no fish zones are examples of what happens when radical minority groups get power then I hope we get to that double disillusion quick smart!

      • I found this quote by Plato to be quite relevant to Australian politics at the moment.. “The punishment which the wise suffer, who refuse to take part in government, is to live under the government of worse men”.. or women in our case.. lol πŸ™‚

        • That would appear to be what’s happening Paul!

          I might clarify that I do not support old growth logging as I feel that there are better and more sustainable ways to go about it.

          I am pretty sure that is what you were saying in any case.

          • Sustainable forests aren’t old growth forests, we have plenty of sustainable plantations around. Renewable logging is one of the best forms of reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere as trees can only store a certain amount of carbon.

            For the record I’m against logging old growth forests as well.

          • Once again we are on the same page Paul!

  9. Eden says:

    Great shots Mark!

  10. Mark, the rumours around town are saying that Julia is about to be rolled in the next couple of weeks. It doesn’t change government but it might bring a different direction for the short term, so there is always hope in that.

    So what is the current state of play? Are the government really saying to the farmers that they are taking their income away and never allowing them to trade with places like Indonesia again and suggesting that a small amount of money will compensate them? If that is the case I would think that is extremely undemocratic.

    If someone told me I could no longer sell photos to certain clients I would be outraged especially if they were a large part of my income base.

    Jamie

    • Hi Jamie, the current state of play is that the Government have done nothing since they decided to stop the ships sailing to Indonesia and not one Minister has been to Indonesia to discuss the issue with the Indonesian Ministers! I have heard this morning that Indonesia have now put a 3 month ban on Australian Beef exports just to rub salt into the wound!

      This is the worst case of political mismanagement I have ever seen since I have been old enough to understand what’s going on!

      I have no idea what this Government thinks everyone involved should be doing and I am sure they have no idea either as the decision to stop everything was a total knee jerk without anyone thinking about all the consequences!

    • It would be the end of Labor for a very long time if they toppled another PM.. I don’t think it is all that likely.

  11. mervfrench says:

    There is plenty of documentation about human rights atrocities in China.

    So are they going to ban the export of iron ore to that country ???

    I’d like to see that. !!!!!!!

  12. Greg Munyard says:

    A couple of nice shots of the cows, Markie. Wish there were some more …

    The Federal Government’s ill considered export ban is a disgrace. Some have called it almost criminal. I feel so sorry for our fellow Australians – hard working, great cattle people like the Thompsons – who are being sacrificed by the Labor Party + Greens combination.

    Sadly, I suppose we were always doomed to an incompetent Government when you look at how desperate Julia Gillard was to assume power even though, as one of the Gang of 4, she proved that she had no capability for running the country.

    • You hit the nail on the head there Greggy! Everyone in this Government is all about personal gratification without one thought for national interest and whilst that remains the play we are all in for a very rocky ride! Bring on the Double Dissolution I say!

  13. Andrew Brown says:

    Mmmm, it is a bad setup indeed, reckon that if Turnbull was leader there would never have been a Gillard government……..I can still hear my little 1 and 1/2 year old boy repeating ‘stop boat’ after the little puppet Abbott playing his one string guitar at the last election campaign. He still continues to utter those words, at which point I mutter ‘shut the %^&* up you little %^&* %% $$#$^%^& ^&&&% $%$ $%^ &&** (Abbott that is, my now 2 /12 year old boy has moved on)

    • Very funny Andrew…or it would be if it wasn’t so serious!

    • Jamie Nicolaou says:

      As annoying as it was, look at how many boats have turned up since Labor has been back in power. Look how much it is costing “us” taxpayers to house the “illegal immigrants”. All the money they are spending on doing up army barracks when we have our own homeless people in need of shelters. This government seems to forget about what’s important. And then comes the typical labor spending sprees, which in turn wastes money and then tries to impose a “carbon tax”, which is supposed to “reduce” carbon. What a crock of shit, it’s just another tax that “us” already overtaxed taxpayers will have to pay for.

      • 100% correct Jamie…the Carbon tax will not make one bit of difference to the emissions and it will simply be another tax as you say!

        I cannot believe that the tax has got as far as it has without a total revolt! People have been brainwashed into believing that by some miracle the tax will make a difference.

        This Government have lost touch with reality totally!

      • They aren’t illegal immigrants. They are asylum seekers, there is a huge difference. 99% of our illegal immigrants arrive by plane, on holiday visas. It is not illegal to seek asylum under any domestic law in Australia, regardless of how you arrive.

        We deport illegal immigrants, we don’t house them in processing facilities and then help them establish a life here.

        • Jamie Nicolaou says:

          Ok, my mistake, asylum seekers. Since labor has got into power, how many asylum seekers have turned up? How many boats have turned up on our shores? At least the Howard government did something to discourage the arrival of boats and asylum seekers. At the end of the day they are “illegal immigrants”. I know what friends from overseas have had to go through to get permanency, but you can come by boat an be taken in without any dramas. And then they riot and burn buildings provided by “us”!!
          Mark, I believe it’s only a minority of people have been brainwashed in regard to the carbon tax. I think the majority of Australians know that Julia Gillard and the Labor government a full of the proverbial!!

          • The only people doing anything illegal are the people smugglers.. but then so were the people smugglers who got the Jews out of Germany back in the day. Desperate people do desperate things. My family were sponsored refugees in the 50s and we’ve helped other refugees establish a life for themselves here in Australia. One guy I know saw his parents murdered by their government, he managed to get his brothers and sisters out and came to Australia as asylum seekers.
            While Australia is going through some struggles, we still are far better off than the majority of the world.

            That said, I think anyone who is setting fire to buildings and rioting because of a wait, needs to be shipped out and put in a refugee camp with the hundreds of thousands of others.. and see how good they have it here..

        • mervfrench says:

          There are not enough checks on who is coming into this country , call them illegal immigrants call them asylum seekers , boat people call them what you like. A lot of immigrants into this country bring their centuries long inbred problems and attitudes with them. I’m not saying all but there are a lot. There is big problems in certain suburbs in Vjc. and NSW. with racial tensions. That can hardly be called a starting a new life. We have women wearing full Burkas here but see if one of our women could walk down a Muslim city street in a bikini top and shorts. There are severe racial problems in England, and France is trying to rid themselves of immigrants there that have turned parts of Paris into ghettos. We are quickly going the same way.

          The answer to our water shortage is bring in more people.

          Anyway I digress, we are should be talking about cows.

          • I think that all your comments highlight Merv are that our problems are as diverse as they are long reaching!

            Loved the comment about the water suplplies!

  14. Charlene says:

    Nice series and insight into a working cattle farm Mark. You get the best assignments!

    • Thanks Charlene…I get the assignments because I put myself out there and have a crack I guess!

      I have known these guys for many years and Mike Thompson knows that when i take a project on I give it 100%, which is how I do everything in my life I guess! πŸ™‚