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Workshops will show how to build a thriving export business in the Capital Region

Genevieve Jacobs 5 November 2019

The Burton Taylor family have created a significant export business from their Boorowa livestock operation. Photo: Kennys Creek Angus.

Getting into export sounds like a big call for many small businesses. Where would you start? How challenging could it be? The Canberra Region Joint Organisation, representing eight neighbouring local government areas, says the Capital Region is richly blessed with export possibilities. Often all that’s lacking is confidence and know-how

The CRJO is co-presenting a series of free interactive workshops, designed for regional businesses of all sizes starting out on their export journey or looking to consolidate their existing knowledge.

The NSW and ACT governments have both identified Canberra as a gateway city, hosting an airport with both domestic and international freight capabilities and potential access for regional NSW businesses.

The prize for Capital Region producers is easy and fast access to markets, particularly in Asia, with additional flow-on benefits to cargo flights and passenger services.

Canberra Region Joint Organisation representatives in Canberra last year included Brian McCormack, Upper Lachlan Shire; Tim Overall from Queanbeyan Palerang Regional Council; Brian Ingram from Hilltops Shire; Kristy McBain from Bega Valley; Goulburn’s Bob Kirk; ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr; Yass Valley mayor and Canberra Region Joint Organisation chair Rowena Abbey; Liz Innes, Eurobodalla; and John Rooney from the Snowy Monaro Council. Photo: G Jacobs.

“The main reason for people to get involved with the workshops is to gather information and meet other like-minded people. The process could be daunting for you as an individual or small business, but might look much more achievable as a team effort,” says CRJO chair and Yass Valley mayor, Rowena Abbey.

“People will tell you stories about how hard it can be, but the workshops are a way to find out some actual facts so you can make informed decisions about the next steps in establishing an export business.”

Sam Burton Taylor’s family business, Kenny’s Creek Angus at Boorowa, runs a successful meat export operation into Asia and the Middle East. But Burton Taylor says that when they started in 2014, their only clear point of reference was a mate with some experience in the field.

“We travelled to China and brought the buyers back to visit us at Boorowa. Showing the connection with the farm was really important, so our clients could understand how the product was sourced. We had a butchers’ shop at the time so we could also show them how the meat would be cut and packaged.

“But really, we had to just dive in and send our first container of boxed beef to Zhuhai. It was one step at a time.”

That first transaction showed them how immense the export potential was. Burton Taylor says that in a single week, they did more trade than a year’s worth in the butchers’ shop. But the logistics were complex: the carcasses were processed in Casino and shipped by sea from Brisbane.

These days the Kenny’s Creek export focus is on processed lamb going to the Middle East, but the potential to streamline their exports through Canberra’s international airport is an attractive one.

Rowena Abbey points out that the Pakfresh operation at Canberra Airport can now provide those critical export services, short-circuiting a lot of frustration from local producers who otherwise battle their way through Sydney congestion.

But, she adds, exports aren’t only for the larger players.

“As a collective, we have a better voice and more say over how we are dealt with too. As a small operator you can get pushed around a bit, but speaking on behalf of a bigger crew gives you more traction in the export market.

“It’s exciting to think about what your family or business could do.”

The workshop will cover an introduction to exporting from the Export Council, panel discussions on the keys to successful exporting and networking to learn more about the potential freight opportunities available through Canberra Airport.

The workshops are aimed at businesses looking to develop a growth plan to extend beyond the domestic market, aspiring exporters and new exporters and existing exporters who want a refresher.

The Young forum will be held at the Town Hall, Boorowa St., Young on Monday, 19 August 2019 from 9:15 am to 1:30 pm. Register here to attend. 

Yass Soldiers Club at 86 Meehan Street Yass, is the venue on Tuesday, 20 August 2019 from 9 am to 1:30 pm. Register here to attend.

There are two South Coast events: The Bega Valley Commemorative Civic Centre in Zingel Place, Bega, hosts a forum on Wednesday, 21 August 2019 from 9:30 am to 1 pm. Registrations can be made here. Moruya Golf Club in Evans St., Moruya is the venue for a forum on Thursday, 22 August, from 9 am – 1 pm. Register to attend.


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