Howard Rubin, Managing Director of Koala Tea in Alstonville says a lower dollar has done little to boost his sales.
Howard Rubin, Managing Director of Koala Tea in Alstonville says a lower dollar has done little to boost his sales. The Northern Star/Brenden Allen

Local exports mixed bag as dollar tumbles

A FALLING Aussie dollar against the US Greenback is presenting a mixed bag of opportunities for Northern Rivers exporters.

Howard Rubin has been making herbal tea at his Alstonville factory, selling to a market that appreciates the level of quality and is willing to pay a premium.

“The fall in the dollar hasn't generated enormous orders for the Koala Tea Company,” he said. “But that's no surprise because our sales didn't decrease when the dollar was worth US 90 cents,” he said.

“We were more affected two years ago when Woolworths took our product off its shelves. Back then we had to re-focus where we sold our product. But that's good for business. It keeps you on your toes.”

Casino-based Mariani Meats has been exporting dried beef products to South East Asia for two decades. Chief Executive Don Nisbet said sales 'should be better' with the dollar falling 30 per cent against the Greenback during the past two months.

But meat prices have risen by 30 per cent, with other export markets taking away raw materials.

“We pay more for meat here than processors do on the other side of the world,” Mr Nesbit said. “It can be frustrating.”

Mariani also sells a quality product to a market that appreciates it.

“It's not our game to compete with the cheap guys,” he said.

Chris Sharpe, managing director of Casino-based Richmond Dairies said he was 'encouraged' by the fall.

“The falling dollar is positive for exporters,” he said. “But there are other factors to consider – transport, fuel, exchange rates – it is hard to follow.

“The main thing is to maintain business as usual and be mindful of what is going on around you.”



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