According to the State of the Industry 2017 report, published by the Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC), in 2016 Australia was the largest exporter of beef, the second-largest exporter of sheep meat, and the world’s third-largest livestock exporter.
The report detailed that the value of Australian red meat and livestock exports increased by almost AU$6 billion (bn) over the past five years from AU$9.2bn in 2011-12 to AU$15.1bn in 2015-16.
Don Mackay, RMAC independent chair, said the State of the Industry 2017 showed the key part red meat played in the Australian economy.
“No industry has a more important place in society than an industry that feeds its people and sustains and improves their way of life,” he said. “We have achieved turnover growth of 11%, contributed AU$18bn to Australian GDP, sustain 405,000 direct and indirect jobs and feed 24 million Australians day in and day out.
“Our industry continues to work for our rural and regional jobs, accounting for almost a quarter of agrifood jobs in Australia.”
Mackay took the opportunity to urge the Australian government to support the red meat industry.
“Our industry’s success is Australia’s success. As an industry, we are responsible for far too many Australian businesses and Australian jobs for government to be cavalier about our industry.
“We’ve seen recent examples of the Australian red meat industry being damaged by attacks from crusading politicians who are more interested in making a name for themselves than protecting Australian jobs.
“The reality is despite an incredibly challenging environment out there, we’ve seen a 5% growth in businesses across the chain, there are more processing businesses now than four years ago and we’ve seen a 48% rise in saleyard prices. We know the key, tangible outcomes that government can deliver that help us be a bigger and better red meat nation for businesses and workers alike.”
Glenn Carmody, consumer and industrial products market segment leader at Ernest & Young, who compiled the report, added: “The red meat and livestock industry is a key contributor to the nation’s employment, noting a large number of jobs are in rural and regional areas. The report also demonstrates the industry’s significance within the global marketplace – in 2015 Australia was the world’s largest exporter of beef, and second-largest exporter of sheep meat.”
“The most recent data in relation to goat meat shows that in 2013, Australia was the largest goat meat exporter,” said Carmody.
As well as leading the world in selling meat, Australians are some of the highest consumers of red meat in the world, eating four times the average amount of beef and six times the amount of sheep meat compared to the global average.