The National, Friday 17th May 2013
PAPUA New Guinea and Queensland officials are in talks to ship over up to 150,000 live cattle as foreign aid.
It is not only save the state’s cattle crisis but to beef up the local industry too.
The Courier Mail newspaper reported yesterday that Queensland premier Campbell Newman, who led a delegation to PNG this week, was part of a briefing to officials about lifting Queensland’s beef glut and alleviating PNG’s “protein drought”.
Queensland delegates and PNG industry experts and politicians are pushing for live cattle to be sent rather than cash in an AusAID-funded programme.
One major cattle business owner in PNG Lord Peter Murray, who had for some time pushing for a revival of the PNG industry, said yesterday he was delighted about the prospects of shipping the excess animals to PNG in the form of Australian aid.
Murray has personally spoken to Queensland politicians and business leaders about shipping some of the state’s excess cattle to PNG after Prime Minister Julia Gillard ordered a ban on live animals to Indonesian abattoirs following media revelations of animal cruelty on Australian cattle shipped there.
While here, the Queensland delegates visited a possible holding site for these cattle outside of Port Moresby. The estimated cost of 100,000 cattle alone is A$50 million (K106 million).
Murray, who owns the Kotaki plantations, one of PNG’s top three producers of beef cattle has been in talks to bring some of these animals to PNG.
He has already spoken to a number of PNG politicians who are supportive of the proposal to bring the 150 head of cattle to PNG to beef up its industry which has been on the downward slide after Independence.
Murray met with Newman who was “favourably disposed to” the shipment of cattle in aid to PNG.
These cattle can be distributed to New Britain, New Ireland and the Mamose region, he said.