Queen's honour for dedication to cattle sector

Peter Milne is on the Queen's Birthday honour list thanks to his contribution to the livestock industry.
Peter Milne is on the Queen's Birthday honour list thanks to his contribution to the livestock industry. Zhanae Conway-Dodd

THE cattle sector gave Peter Milne a good family and a happy life, so there was always a desire burning within him to give something back to the industry.

The Rockhampton resident is now being recognised for his contribution to the livestock sector, to animal health and biosecurity programs and to the community by being named in the Queen's Birthday 2017 honour list.

While he has been on the boards of more than a dozen committees, it was managing cattle properties where Peter got his start.

"I started work in the Northern Territory a long time ago in an era you can hardly contemplate,” he said.

"We lived just in our swags. We had absolutely nothing in the way of mod-cons - we didn't have refrigeration or electricity.

"We didn't even have carbide lights so we went to bed when it was dark or sat around the bushfire telling stories.”

Peter then headed back to Longreach, where he was born, and managed a place there for some years.

"Then it was onto a station, which was south of Theodore, then I started to go into the board and committee side of things in 2003 and that's when we moved to Rockhampton,” Peter said.

"You might think 'why didn't you live in Brisbane or Canberra, somewhere a little closer to the action I was involved in', but being in Rockhampton was like being in heaven compared to living at the station, where I would have a three-hour drive to catch a plane.”

Being based out of Rockhampton gave Peter the ability to ramp up his work with industry organisations across different sectors.

One of the first gigs he landed was president of the Cattle Council Australia.

"I happened to be in the UK when foot and mouth disease outbreak was on. I was actually sent there by the Cattle Council to have a look at it and so on,” he said.

"There were a number of cattle producers on that trip, including some really predominate people from central Queensland here.

"From then on I've been totally focused on biosecurity and food safety and those two issues are things if you don't look after them properly your industry is out of the marketplace and out of the marketplace for a long time.”

One of the most memorable moments through Peter's career was through his association with the National Livestock Identification System.

"I had a lot to do with NLIS when it was coming in and whilst I wasn't active in industry organisations at that time I got brought in just because of my chairing ability,” he explained.

"They wanted an independent chair of the implementation committee here in Queensland and I got appointed to that.

"It was controversial - not everyone loved NLIS when it was first around and there was a lot of very large protest meetings about it.

"But I think the fact it's been implemented now is one of the things I'm proudest of.

"I'm not saying it's without problems but it has given us an enormous edge in our ability to respond to disease incursions.”

Having had proud moments such as NLIS over the years, Peter said it was nice to receive an award that noticed his dedication to want to make a difference.

"In terms of getting to the award, it's a lovely thing to happen to you.

"But I think there are a lot of other people responsible for someone being in a position to receive an award like this,” he said.

"I've worked with amazing, dedicated people in every organisation I've been with, starting from Cattle Council to Animal Health Australia and these other boards I've mentioned.

"There's always dedicated people that work tirelessly to achieve things they imagine will reduce the risk, particularly livestock producers face.”

Topics:  biosecurity australia meat and lifestock australia peter milne queens birthday honour list awards