Meat prices stay put: butcher

DESPITE current affairs shows touting meat prices would drop due to the Indonesian live export ban, Greg Carey, of Carey Brothers, said consumers could expect to pay about the same as they have been over the counter.

“Good quality trade cattle have not dropped in price this week and I cannot see that changing in the next couple of months,” Mr Carey said.

“There is a domestic market and an export market and they are two different markets with two different products.”

He didn't think cattle meant for the Indonesian market would flood the Australian industry, creating competition and lower prices.

“Export trade cattle are not suitable for the domestic market,” he said.

He said store cattle (animals ready to fatten) were sent overseas and fed for three months before they went to abattoirs.

“They are too lean and the quality isn't there,” he said.

“They would need to be fattened up a great deal before they could be sold here and that takes time.”

While Mr Carey wouldn't comment on the export ban, he did say it was good that Australia abattoirs had high operating standards.

“Everything slaughtered here must be stunned before the animal is bled,” he said.

A spokesperson for John Dee agreed with Mr Carey's predictions about retail meat prices.

“We don't expect any effect in the next month,” he said.

“If those cattle started finding their way down here (from the Northern Territory and north Queensland) there could be some change but there is no evidence of that happening.

“I expect there to be a resumption of exports before that happens.”

Even if those cattle ended up in southern Queensland, prices might not be any cheaper.

“They will have to feed them to fatten them up and transport from up there won't be cheap so there will be cost adding because of that,” the spokesman said.

Mr Carey said while he had confidence in the market, the company wasn't considering expanding into Stanthorpe after one of the only two butcheries in the town closed two weeks ago.

Hawker Bros Butchers went into receivership after almost 90 years of business.

“We have been approached to take over the Hawker Bros shop in Stanthorpe but, at this stage, we have no immediate plans to do so,” he said.

Yesterday Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) representatives headed to Canberra to brief MPs and senators on the industry's $9 million proposal handed to the government last week, which would allow for the progressive reopening of trade with Indonesia.

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