6 May 2017
THE Territory’s largest landholder, and emerging cattle baroness, Gina Rinehart, has reportedly been spruiking long-term plans to develop the live export market into Asia, with proposals to ship 800,000 cattle to China a year.
The plan, if successful, would see China leapfrog Indonesia as the most significant export destination for Australia’s live cattle trade and could present a further boon for the Northern Territory.
Cattle industry publication Beef Central reports the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland governments were handed briefs on Ms Rinehart’s plans last week, the details of which remain confidential.
Former chief minister turned Hancock Prospecting manager Adam Giles said the company’s plans were in the early stages and likely years away from fruition.
“If an agreement is formed, it will take possibly several years before first exports were to take place,” Mr Giles said.
Mr Giles said agreements would have to be struck with pastoralists to supply unprecedented numbers of cattle and said major construction projects would have to take place as part of the project.
“Mrs Rinehart continues to look for opportunities that will see investment in Northern Australia and the creation of Australian jobs,” Mr Giles said.
Mrs Rinehart’s Chinese partner in the S. Kidman & Co. buyout, Gui Guojie, in February sent a live cattle shipment to China from Portland, Victoria, prompting suggestions the S. Kidman & Co. empire would become geared towards supplying the Chinese market.
Chinese restrictions on importing cattle from areas affected by blue-tongue virus — including the Top End — have long been a sticking point for would-be exporters.
But industry players other than Mrs Rinehart, including export giant Wellard, have expressed optimism over developing the Chinese market, particularly in feeder cattle.