Australia has welcomed Indonesia’s move to relax restrictive import conditions for live cattle.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce says the announcement will provide more opportunities for Australian producers.
Indonesia is Australia’s largest and most valuable live export market.
The latest move is aimed at achieving a more sustainable live cattle trade with Australia and more certain beef supply for Indonesian consumers.
Mr Joyce said the changes would allow better business planning for Australian exporters, increase the range of cattle eligible for export and ultimately improve returns at the farmgate.
“In contrast to the Labor Party that infamously shut down this vital industry to both Australia and Indonesia, the Coalition Government is working hard for farming families supplying cattle to Australia’s live export trade,” Mr Joyce said.
“With industry by our side, we have consistently worked to strengthen relationships with our Indonesian counterparts to ensure a sustainable and more reliable live export trade by advocating for these changes over many years.”
Under the new regulations, import permits have been extended from four months to one year.
“This is great news for both our farmers and exporters as it brings greater stability to the trade and allows for longer term planning,” Mr Joyce said.
And weight limit have now been increased from 350kg to 450kg for live feeder cattle, as well as an increase in the age limit.
This will give Australian farmers will the opportunity to produce a greater range of cattle for the Indonesian market at competitive prices, Mr Joyce said.
Minister for Trade and Investment Steven Ciobo said the new move would further strengthen bilateral relations between Indonesia and Australia.
“Australian agricultural exports to Indonesia were worth $3.1 billion in 2015-16 – including live cattle exports worth $578 million, making it our biggest market for feeder cattle,” Mr Ciobo said.
“We have come a long way from the disastrous decision by Labor to ban live cattle to Indonesia in 2011 which blindsided the Australian cattle industry and undermined confidence in Australia as a reliable trading partner.”
Mr Ciobo said Indonesia’s decision gives more certainty to the live export trade and lays the foundation for the value to continue to grow into the future.
“At the same time, Indonesia’s importers will be able to source a wider range of live feeder cattle, which should lead to more sustainable prices through the supply chain.”
The Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Luke Hartsuyker welcomed the changes as mutually beneficial for both parties.
“These are great outcomes for Aussie producers and exporters and it also expands the range of options open to Indonesian importers and consumers – it’s a win-win situation,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
“It is good news for the nation, reaffirming the strength of our live export industry, which contributed $1.9 billion to the Australian economy in 2015-16 and employed more than 10,000 people within and beyond the industry.”