The Western NSW rangelands are a huge producer of healthy and sustainable meat. Produce from this region is highly sought after in many overseas markets and there is also local demand for it, however, it is really difficult to buy Western Region meat in the Western Region. This issue became increasingly apparent at the 2017 Western Landcare Forum held in Broken Hill where a huge dinner for 200 guests was organised with the hopes to showcase our local produce, but no where in this part of NSW could we go to a butcher and order local meat for the dinner. This is because of a lack of meat processing facilities in this region forcing graziers to sell their stock to South Australia or other areas. For the Forum we supplied the meat from a landholder close to Cobar and drove it ourselves to Mildura for processing.
As part of the Western Landcare Forum themed ‘Healthy Landscapes – Healthy Food’ the issue was raised with feedback sought from the participants who had come from across the region. The need for a local, multi-species abattoir was identified, this would allow local produce to stay within the region and make it accessible to local consumers. The creation of a brand for Western Region produce would enable people within and outside of the region to identify and support products that they could trust to have been produced sustainably and it would also invite tourism into the area. With food provenance becoming such an important issue with regards to the environment and health, the desire to see meat labeled with a regionally identified brand would give people the power to support good, local produce. Western Landcare NSW took on these suggestions and is developing a plan to action them.
The Forum helped to put Western NSW produce in the spotlight and draw the attention of government bodies at both the state and national level to the needs for the region, namely the need for meat processors in the region and the need to promote Australian produce more effectively. Western Landcare NSW has had ongoing conversations with the people working on the ground as well as other government agencies and a range of organisations to ensure that the plans developed remain active.
For more information and PDF download please visit: https://landcare.nsw.gov.au/groups/Western_landcare/keeping-it-local/