Australia is the world’s leading supplier of red meat according to the State of the Industry 2017 report, which was released by Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC) on Wednesday 18 October.

In 2016 Australia was the largest exporter of beef, the second largest exporter of sheepmeat and the world’s third largest livestock exporter.

The report also found Australians eat more red meat than anyone else, consuming four times the average amount of beef and six times the amount of sheepmeat compared to the global average.

RMAC independent chair, Don Mackay, said the State of the Industry 2017 demonstrates the key part red meat plays in Australia’s 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 says.

“We have achieved turnover growth of 11 percent, contributed $18 billion 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.”

The report shows the value of Australian red meat and livestock exports increased by almost $6b over the past five years from $9.2b in 2011–12 to $15.1b in 2015–16.

It also showed the once-niche goat meat has experienced a significant boom with Australia now a leading global supplier, enjoying a recent price increase of 177 percent and exporting over 27,000 tonnes of goat in 2016 alone.

Mackay said the State of the Nation 2017 demonstrated the need for government to show leadership in food and farming policy, adding inaction and conflict with government in the red meat sector was costing the Australian economy money and jobs.

“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 percent growth in businesses across the chain, there are more processing businesses now than four years ago and we’ve seen a 48 percent rise in sale-yard 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.”

The State of the Industry 2017 was commissioned by Meat & Livestock Australia at the request of RMAC and our member councils, and compiled by Ernst & Young (EY). The full report is available here.

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