NORTH SYDNEY, Australia – Meat & Livestock Australia Chairman Don Heatley said during his address to the M&LA Annual General Meeting in Launceston he is optimistic about the future of Australia’s red-meat industry, given its commitment to continuous improvement and response to market signals.

“The past year has once again delivered a volatile mix of challenges and successes,” he said. “An Australian dollar that reached parity with the US and ongoing economic woes in our major markets placed enormous pressure on returns to exporters and producers. Despite this, the lamb industry has thrived as demand in the Middle East and on the domestic market continues to grow.”

The beef business has been tough, he added. “Exports have been eroded by the exchange rate, but it has been pleasing to see the Australian domestic market absorb the additional product, and keep paying a good price for it,” he said.

He encouraged members to continue to make the most of MLA and use new tools and technologies for their own advantage. “I’d like to challenge you to continue to demand a return on your investment in the company, and to capitalize on that investment by taking up the opportunities it provides you and your business,” he added.

MLA is focused on three major areas of service to the red meat industry, said David Palmer during the managing director’s address. “We aim to drive producers’ levy dollars further by helping increase returns per hectare; further growing demand for red meat; and reinforcing community trust in our industry,” he said.