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?
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!