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Colbeck welcomes latest Australia-China dairy talks.

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DAFF05/069C - 24 November 2005

Colbeck welcomes latest Australia-China dairy talks

Australia will fund a training project designed to boost the animal welfare and husbandry skills of Chinese livestock managers, the Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Richard Colbeck, announced last night.

Speaking to participants of the second annual Australia-China dairy talks at a reception at Parliament House, Canberra, Senator Colbeck said the project would help maintain the quality of Australian dairy cattle imported by China for breeding purposes.

"The eight-month project will include educational materials and workshop training, and involve the close cooperation of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture (MOA)," he said. "It will target selected livestock managers at quarantine and post quarantine facilities.

"We'll be working closely with the MOA, not only to ensure the workshops and training packages meet local needs, but to also enable the Ministry to provide training to other livestock managers in the future.

"The project will build on another - partly funded by the Australian Government and our dairy industry - that's developing a database to meet Chinese certification requirements for live dairy cattle imports."

Senator Colbeck said China was one of Australia's most important export markets for dairy produce.

"The close ties that have been forged between our two dairy industries in recent years have seen investment and trade grow significantly," he said. "Last November, China's Vice Minister Niu and I signed a memorandum of understanding formalising annual government-to-government discussions on dairy matters.

"Last year's inaugural meeting, held in China, was extremely productive for both countries, and I trust this year's will maintain that impetus."

Senator Colbeck stressed the importance of building on the growing relationship between Australia and China.

"Initiatives, such as these dairy talks, and the commencement of free trade agreement negotiations, reinforce the fact that Australia and China have much to gain from a long-term cooperative and productive trading relationship - including the trade in live dairy cattle and dairy products," he said.

"China is Australia's second biggest trading partner, and the third biggest buyer of our agriculture exports. In fact, since 1995, the trade in agriculture products between our two countries has increased at an average annual rate of 8.8 per cent."

Following today's talks in Canberra, the Chinese delegation will visit a range of dairy facilities in Victoria.

Further media inquiries:

Senator Colbeck's office: Aaron Oldaker 0408 826 330