MEDIA RELEASE: Western Downs farmers one step closer to China opportunities

Friday, 29 April 2016

MEDIA RELEASE: Western Downs farmers one step closer to China opportunities MEDIA RELEASE: Western Downs farmers one step closer to China opportunities MEDIA RELEASE: Western Downs farmers one step closer to China opportunities MEDIA RELEASE: Western Downs farmers one step closer to China opportunities

China’s demand for Australian produce was on the menu for Western Downs agricultural producers who attended a series of Agriculture Export Opportunities forums hosted this week by Food Leaders Australia (FLA) and supported by natural gas company QGC.

The forums, held in Tara, Wandoan and Chinchilla on 26-27 April, were well attended and focused on assisting attendees identify and maximise emerging opportunities with Chinese consumers.

Chief executive officer of FLA Dr Ben Lyons said it was great to see a solid number of agricultural producers in the Western Downs region turn out to hear more about export opportunities to China.

“It’s been a fantastic two days out west providing guidance to Western Downs farmers on the opportunities for their business in China with participants walking away with vital information necessary to further explore their export potential,” Dr Lyons said.

Richard Holy, general manager at global logistics company DB Schenker, discussed the importance of effective transport and logistics systems in order for businesses to connect with Asian markets.

In particular, Mr Holy highlighted the importance of rail in order for long term transport efficiencies to facilitate export opportunities.

Speaking on behalf of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Director Bonnie Shek gave guests an insight into Hong Kong’s role as a gateway to Asia, particularly China.

“Being located in the southern tip of China, Hong Kong has got very easy access to the Chinese market, and also to many of the other major markets in Asia,” Ms Shek said.

“Hong Kong is very much a hub for the trading and not only for the trade but also for investment.”

Ms Shek noted that there were a number of characteristics of the Hong Kong market that were quite attractive to Australian exporters, including very low trade barriers, open and transparent regulations with no grey areas, efficient world-class logistics systems and regularly upgraded infrastructure to support these systems.

“In terms of the food trade between Australia and Hong Kong, this has been quite healthy,” Ms Shek said.

“Hong Kong imported US$943 million of agricultural products and seafood from Australia in 2014.”

Guests also heard from Efic State Director for SME – QLD & NT Natalie Reid-Frost and TSBE CEO and former China-based trade advocate, Dr Ben Lyons.

The forums mark the official beginning of the Western Downs Eastern Opportunities project, a new partnership between FLA and QGC. 

As a part of the project, an expression of interest process will now be undertaken with forum attendees to select up to 10 companies to participate in a targeted trade mission to China later this year and to gain expert, tailored coaching and advice to help build their export readiness over the next 12 months.

QGC Managing Director Tony Nunan said QGC is helping to develop sustainable regional economies and recognises the importance of a strong agribusiness sector to local communities.

“We look forward to hearing about the success of businesses participating in this new project with FLA,” Mr Nunan said.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for agricultural producers looking to grow.”

For media enquiries please contact Anna Jones on (07) 4639 4600.

For photos from the event, please visit:

Image Captions:

001 – Dr Ben Lyons, CEO of Food Leaders Australia (FLA), discusses export opportunities to China with interested Western Downs agricultural producers.

002 – FLA’s Kate Reardon assists Western Downs agricultural producers better understand emerging export opportunities.

003 – Carlie Watson from QGC, Jane Roberts from QGC and Cecilia Donohoe from Wandoan.

004 – Dr Ben Lyons, CEO of FLA, presents to attendees at the Agricultural Export Opportunity Forums regarding growing consumer demand for Australian food in China.

005 – Richard, Holy, General Manager Queensland for DB Schenker, gives his insights to guests regarding transport and logistics considerations needed in order to seize export opportunities.

006 – Natalie Reid-Frost, State Director for SME – QLD & NT at Efic, explains to attendees how they can utilise Efic’s services to access export opportunities in China.

007 – Boonie Shek, Director of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council gives her insights to guests on how Hong Kong is the gateway to the Asian market.

008 – FLA Project Officer, Kate Reardon provides guests an outline for the Western Downs Eastern Opportunities project moving forward.

009 – Dr Ben Lyons from FLA and Jason Vanderzona.

010 – Dr Ben Lyons from FLA, Natalie Reid-Frost from Efic, Bonnie Shek from the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Lizzie Staines from QGC, Kate Reardon from FLA, and Richard Holy from DB Schenker.

011 – Nathan Cusack from National Australia Bank, Kristelle Townsend from QGC and Troy Morecroft from National Australia Bank.

012 – Kylie Fourie from Tara Rural Supplies and Amy Wallace.

013 – Matt Kearney, Bonnie Shek from Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Craig Leschke and Jane Roberts from QGC.

014 – Matt Kearney learns about the next stages of the Western Downs Eastern Opportunities project from Jane Roberts from QGC.

Food Leaders Australia

Food Leaders Australia (FLA) is an initiative of economic development organisation Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise (TSBE) and was launched in May 2015. FLA is a champion for food producing and processing businesses and exists to support the growth of these businesses working within the food and agriculture space nation-wide capitalise on opportunities in the global market.

FLA achieves this through providing and facilitating advice, training, business-to-business connections and market intelligence to assist businesses get export-ready at all levels of the food supply chain, from growing to manufacturing, right through to the end buyer.



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