PRODUCERS have worked the hard yards and persevered through the drought, but another spanner has been thrown into the works for local farmers.
Rumours of price fixing taking place in the beef sector have caught the attention of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) with concerns farmers aren't getting the best price possible.
The interim report made recommendations to improve competition, efficiency, transparency and trading issues in the beef supply chain so farmers were not disadvantaged in the market place.
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said some of the findings in the ACCC report were very concerning.
"We hear a lot from producers about concerns, about collusion in saleyards, about the auditing of carcasses and about conflicts of interest in the sector,” he said.
"It's good now we have a detailed report which outlines these things and a basis from which to look at what other things need to be done to ensure we do have a cattle market which is transparent, which is fair and provides returns to all producers in the supply chain, including the processors.”
The report specifically identifies Rockhampton as an area where there is a large degree of concentration with few options for beef producers to sell their cattle.
"That makes it even more important that options like Port Alma are supported by people who support the beef industry in this area,” Mr Canavan said.
"It's important that Ken (O'Dowd) is backing the Emerald meatworks, that will provide an alternate outlet for producers in our region.
"We've got to provide our producers competition, we've got to provide them options because when people don't have options that's when they can get touched, that's when they can not have the security to make a financial return and if that happens people won't invest in our region and invest in our sector.”
If the issues aren't resolved in the industry it becomes hard for people to make investments in the beef sector.
"It's important we have a healthy beef supply chain for a healthy beef sector and for a healthy Central Queensland,” Mr Canavan said.
Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd said both the ACCC and local government wanted feedback from the producers of cattle in Central Queensland before the report was finalised.
"We think there may be some areas we can improve on and the end result is to give the cattlemen in our region a better price if possible,” he said.
"We need competition, we need transparency, we need more buyers at the saleyards and that will ensure our farmers are getting the correct price. And the ACCC want to ensure there are no glitches in the system from paddock to plate.”
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