State to back beef in Tokyo trade mission
FLOOD-AFFECTED farmers in Queensland's northwest will be front of mind for the State Government during the Premier's Tokyo trade mission.
JBS Australia is promoting a new "Queenslander" brand of high-quality grass-fed beef, largely sourced from the northwest of the state.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said re-establishing a supply chain for graziers and meat producers was a major part of getting those communities back on their feet.
"We rebuilt 300km of the Mount Isa-Townsville railway line in just 12 weeks," she said.
"Meat buyers in Tokyo are at the end of that supply chain, buying Queensland beef."
McKinlay Shire Mayor Belinda Murphy said the cattle trucks were moving again.
"Getting that product from the paddocks of Queensland to plates in Tokyo is not only good for the families who produce it but the truck drivers who transport it, the mechanics who keep their trucks on the move, fuel stations - the list goes on," she said.
Half of Japan's meat comes from Australia and half of that comes from Queensland.
JBS Australia director and chief operating officer for the Northern division Anthony Pratt said for many decades Japan had been, and would continue to be, a major market for his business.
"We are the largest beef processor in the country and more than one third of our total production is exported to Japan," he said.
"The launch of our Queenslander beef brand is a demonstration that we are committed to Japan. We will continue to work with our customers in Japan with whom we have forged strong relationships over the last four decades.
"This will enable us to continue to tell the great story of our state while consumers access the high-quality, clean, healthy and safe beef products that we have become known for."
The Premier said more trade equalled more jobs.
"The Queensland beef industry is worth $5.7 billion to our state and supports more than 18,000 jobs," she said.
"This is why, as part of our $150 million Jobs and Regional Growth Fund, we've committed $10 million to a pilot project for an export distribution centre in regional Queensland to support trade in our most vital industries."
Japanese celebrity chef Hiroyuki Sakai has been recruited to back "Queenslander" beef.