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TAS Country : January 27th 2011
Friday, January 28, 2011 Tasmanian Country 13 Freight scheme unfair ALL Tasmania Senators should be warned that the Freight Equalisation Scheme operates to the detriment of Tasmania businesses. Cuthbertson Bros purchases and processes Tasmanian hides and skins using Tasmanian labour and as a result, are frequently worse off than mainland operators. Freight Equalisation and shipping for Victoria gives the Victorian businesses an advantage of $1900 per container on export products, yet the scheme was designed to make the Tasmanian operator competitive with his mainland counterparts. A Tasmanian company employs Tasmanians, yet this scheme favours the employment of Victorians. Should Swift not kill sheep and lambs at Tasmania's only export licenced works and transfer their purchases to Victoria to process, it will involve a huge loss to the northern Tasmanian workforce, a huge subsidy and freight equalisation payment by the taxpayer of Australia and the loss of a great Tasmanian product that was receiving world acclaim. This product will lose its identity when mixed with Victoria's products. Not to mention the extra travelling time the livestock will suffer and reduced prices to the producer to cover the freight costs. Surely it is time that the scheme needs a public overhaul before more Tasmanians lose their jobs. Doug Dickinson Cuthbertson Bros Pty Ltd deserve better deal from supermarkets I WOULD like to reply to a number of issues raised in Emma Hope's article about the use of Hormonal Growth Promotants (Tasmanian Country, January 14). Tasmania produces about 0.08 per cent of the world's beef, so we have a very small share of the market volume. Therefore our beef producers have decided that we cannot com- petitively produce high volumes of beef for the low-priced commodity markets but instead have targeted the high quality and hence higher priced ''niche markets'' as the best way to remain profitable. Promoting our state's beef pro- duction system's natural advantages to consumers has resulted in beef being exported to the Japanese market for years and more recently sold throughout Australia. All farmers know that the way to obtain the best price for their product is to maximise the compe- tition. However, the two major super- market chains have not purchased cattle directly from Tasmanian saleyards for more than a decade, which could be seen as contributing to reduced competition. The competition in my opinion is further reduced in the case of Coles, because they obtain the majority of their supply for their Tasmanian market through one company, rath- er than buying from the broader marketplace. Just because the supplier is lo- cated in Tasmania does not guaran- tee that the product is Tasmanian or HGP-free because cattle that have been treated with HGPs can legally be imported into the state. In the article, Coles spokesman Jim Cooper made a number of claims including ''95 per cent of the beef in our Tasmanian stores is from Tasmania.'' I would love to see some proof to back up this claim. Most industry people are doubtful that the figure could be this high, but would welcome being proven wrong. Indeed both Woolworths and Coles have promised to label Tasmanian-produced beef for years in their supermarkets. Can they give us a firm date as to when this will happen? Coles also claims it will be paying a premium for beef produced with- out the use of HGPs. I am sure that Tasmanian pro- ducers would be interested in know- ing how much the premium is so we can assess if it covers the extra cost of producing HGP-free beef. If Coles wants to continue selling HGP-free beef it should consider sourcing more Tasmanian beef. Farmers will soon supply the extra demand for a product if the premium paid results in a profitable enterprise. Brett Hall Chairman TFGA Meat Council
January 13th 2011
February 3rd 2011