China free trade deal to directly benefit Northern Rivers

CHINA could walk away from a planned Free Trade Agreement if the deal isn't signed off by Christmas, Federal Agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce has warned.

Speaking at the Casino Meat Works today between meetings with local food exporters about the deal, Mr Joyce said any delay on the deal would only hurt the Northern Rivers' economic future.

"You don't go to your biggest customer and say 'I've decided not to let you into my shop anymore'," Mr Joyce said.

"That would be a very dopey thing to do.

"The ambassador from China said the other day 'we've offered you the best deal in town and we'll take it as a slap in the face (if the deal is rejected)'."

He said the deal would particularly benefit the Northern Rivers, which exports 70% of its agricultural products overseas.

The deal would benefit macadamia farmers, breed and dairy graziers, blueberry growers and other local primary producers with a hand in the export market.

The Agriculture Minister even supposed the deal would be good for local coffee shops, such was the cash injection it would provide.

Mr Joyce is meeting with representatives from local beef jerky exporter New World Foods, and Richmond Dairies, to discuss the deal further.

He also met with representatives of the Northern Co-operative Meat Company to learn more about their successful co-operative model of ownership and how it could be rolled out to other regions.

Page MP Kevin Hogan has been asked to prepare a white paper on the subject.

Topics:  barnaby joyce china free trade agreement free trade agreement kevin hogan

Missing swimmer on north coast, search underway

HAZARDOUS SURF: Surf lifesavers are pleading with the public to stay out of the water this weekend after one of the biggest rescue days occurred on Saturday and swimmer is still missing on the north coast.

Hazardous surf warning and one swimmer missing

Ute and truck smash on highway

CRASH RESCUE: At 2am on Sunday the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter was called out to a crash involving a ute colliding with a truck on the Pacific motorway near Brunswick Heads.

Pacific Highway blocked after ute and truck smash

Ferry return to service delayed

No Caption

Service will not resume as expected

Local Partners