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Letters to the Editor    Letters to the Editor
It is the responsibility of those making submissions to ensure the correctness of their claims and statements. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher.
THE Australian pork industry has the highest cost of production in the world, and we assume and rely on the belief that fresh pork will not be al- lowed into Australia.
to fresh pork being allowed into Australia.
the uncertainty that the African swine fever and COVID pandemics create," – so it is on their minds.
without dumping it on mar- kets at very low prices.
to say that the round of producer meetings held in 2019 were “a great suc- cess” and information from them formed the Strategic Plan.
producers and costing $5-6 million each year.
pay on average around 10 percent of our net profit to APL in levies.
The ninth largest im- porter of pork in the world, Australia is the seventh most important customer for European and US ex- porters.
If New Zealand does not break with these diseases in the next 10 years, then it can be argued that fresh pork has been successfully imported into New Zea- land for 15 years, greatly weakening our argument against imports.
This was a disgrace, yet our chief executive officer was proud of this and pub- licised the fact.
I believe this to be a de- liberate lie.
These countries are wanting to export fresh pork to this country.
If Australia was to break with these diseases, there would be no reason for im- ports to be restricted.
Producers will suffer, not the chief executive officer or the Board chair, as they will have moved on.
I believe if ever there was a time that the pig industry should be investi- gating an application to the government for a one-off application to import fresh genetics, it is now.
The meeting held in Brisbane for the corporare sector was also described as a waste of time and money.
Most senior staff have left APL, many going to pri- vate enterprise within the pig industry and the Board appointed a CEO who had no experience with the pig industry.
He should have been here trying to help producers, and the cost of his trip should have gone towards the industry.
Most Australian indus- tries that have not been competitive on the world market no longer exist.
An unsympathetic gov- ernment wanting cheaper food for the consumer along with pressure from animal liberation activists wanting to stop the produc- tion of pork in Australia could also be a factor.
Knowledgable people in this field have expressed their opinion that they do not see it happening within 10 years, but beyond that no one can be certain what might happen.
This needs to be ex- plained.
I believe there is a sig- nificant waste of money by the Board and that they rely on secrecy to prevent exposure.
The motor car industry being the last to exit, steel, oil refining, ship building, clothing, footwear have also largely ceased exist- ence in Australia.
To have a business that may be unviable in pos- sibly 15 years is not en- couraging to say the least, and it needs to have a high rate of return to compen- sate for this.
The application needs to be made on the basis that it does not weaken our case against fresh pork imports.
The meetings were poorly attended, though the CEO refuses to tell me how many producers attended each meeting and the cost of running these meetings.
The Board of nine highly qualified people should have been able to come up with a better marketing plan than selling pork to zoos.
I believe APL staff num- bers have increased signifi- cantly under Ms Andrea’s management, and now the CEO is talking of the need for more funding.
There are many smaller industries which have also ceased to exist.
Other countries are con- tinually trying to export to this country, and we should be aware of this.
All experts in the field who I have spoken to ad- vise me that genetics can safely be imported without the risk of bringing disease into the country.
I believe the cost of run- ning these meetings was significant.
I suggest if half the re- search money had been set aside, or equivalent savings from other areas of APL expenditure of $25-30 mil- lion dollars, and this money had been used to subsidise the home delivery of pork, particularly the cuts of meat most effected by res- taurant closures, this may have greatly increased pork sales and producers would have gained a far greater benefit from their levies.
My criticism is of the Board and senior manage- ment and not of the staff who work under this man- agement, and unless the Board can produce more tangible benefits to pro- ducers then levies should be reduced.
Should fresh pork be al- lowed into this country, 70 percent of our sow herd will be lost to imported product according to Aus- tralian Pork Limited fig- ures.
Head of ACCC Mick Ke- ough wrote an article for APL on the future of the Australian pig industry and over half of what he wrote was on fresh pork coming to Australia.
Bigger producers who have contracts with retail chains such as Woolworths, Coles, Aldi and Cosco will be in a much better posi- tion and most probably will be the ones to remain in business.
New genetics would have a significant impact on re- ducing our cost of produc- tion and could be achieved with little cost.
I also believe that a group of nine met and formed the Strategic Plan.
About 70 percent of pro- cessed pork is imported and importers do not pay a levy on this, though ben- efit from the advertising we pay for and the market we develop.
This was also the topic of discussion at at least one of the producer meetings held in 2019.
Reducing our cost of pro- duction is the best thing we can do to help lessen the impact of imports while also to help us cope with overproduction when it oc- curs, as currently we are unabletoexportanyexcess
I have suggested this to our CEO but have not even received a reply from her.
• Lack of producer in- volvement in the Strategic Plan
If the Board or CEO disagree with what I have written in this letter, then I challenge them to respond via this newspaper. Andrew Reilly
There are a number of scenariosthatcouldlead
• Poorly selected research projects
If vaccines are developed for the current diseases.
When fresh pork is al- lowed in, it will create the biggest disaster the in- dustry has seen – hope- fully the government does provide assistance for the industry to adjust.
During the last price slump, our marketing team resorted to selling pork to zoos.
APL recently published a list of the most beneficial research done over the past 10 years – $50-60 million worth – and contained little if anything most producers would use.
We pay the salaries and all of the expenses of APL, including for Mr Hayden who flew business class to his home country, with all expenses paid during the last slump in pig prices, on a trip which I believe was irrelevant to our pig industry.
Mr Hayden recently said, "My personal view on fresh pork imports is that it is less likely to occur in theimmediatefuturegiven
Our CEO has recently stated that to achieve the ambitious goals set out in the strategic plan more funds may be needed.
• Lack of producer in- volvement in research pro- jects
Most producers try to reduce their costs of run- ning their business as well asminimisetaxes,yetwe
I believe this was an in- sult to our product and gave our industry a poor image in the minds of consumers.
Everyone I have spoken to has been critical of the meetings and felt they were a waste of time and nothing discussed at these meetings resembled anything in the Strategic Plan.
It may be the researchers do benefit from it.
The CEO continues
I believe the Board is negligent of not acting in the best interest of pro- ducers resulting in:
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