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Industry reinventing how Australians see and enjoy pork.

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AFFA03/356WT - 2 December 2003

Industry reinventing how Australians see and enjoy pork

Australian Pork Limited (APL) appears to be on track to achieve its vision of a 50 per cent rise in domestic fresh pork sales in Australian by June 2007, Agriculture Minister Warren Truss said today.

Mr Truss, who officially opened the APL conference and annual general meeting, said the company had begun to challenge existing perceptions, and reinvent how Australians see and enjoy pork.

"APL's domestic marketing campaign has already shown remarkable success," he said. "Consumer survey data shows pork is the fastest growing meat served on Australian plates, with sales 13.3 per cent up on the corresponding quarter to June last year."

Mr Truss said the pork industry's innovative and flexible nature had also led to significant export successes over recent years.

"Despite the pressures of the drought, the pork industry has maintained supplies to the ever-important export market, and has shown that it is serious about being a consistent and high-quality supplier," he said.

"However, the exchange rate and other pressures have created a need to refocus on stimulating pork demand in the domestic market. Equally, changing consumer attitudes will require pork and other food producing industries to consider how they position themselves in the domestic and global food market."

Mr Truss also sounded a warning to processors and retailers to support domestic pig producers in the wake of drought and increased import figures.

"If processors drive prices to farmers too low, they will threaten the viability of farm businesses, and put at risk their own longer term supplies of domestic pork.

Mr Truss said the Australian Government was a proud stakeholder in APL. It had demonstrated its commitment to the industry in various ways in recent years - from its $24 million pork assistance package to Exceptional Circumstances drought assistance, legislating for APL's establishment and ongoing R&D funding.

"Improving the international trade prospects of our agricultural products is one of the Government's highest priorities," he said. "We are pushing hard at all levels to ensure Australian industries can compete fairly and squarely in the global market. It is essential for APL to continue to ensure the Australian pork industry maintains its significant achievements in the export and domestic markets. You must not lose the momentum."

Mr Truss also acknowledged the contribution of APL's recently retired Chief Executive Officer, Brian Ramsay, and welcomed his replacement John Cook.

"I am confident Mr Cook's expertise in the food industry will make a significant contribution to APL and the pork industry," he said.

Further media inquiries:

Minister Truss' office: Tim Langmead - 02 6277 7520 or 0418 221 433