The latest ABARES Live Export Trade Assessment report reinforced the importance of the Australian live export trade, it was claimed today.
Northern-based Senator Ian Macdonald said the report also dispelled some of the myths and misinformation that are propagated about the trade.
Senator Macdonald was commenting on the report that was released by Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce tis week.
“We now have a comprehensive analysis of the drivers of this trade. So I encourage everyone, including animal rights organisations that have questioned the future of this trade, to read the report,” said Senator Macdonald.
“The findings show how important role the industry plays and highlight the damage caused by former Labor Agriculture Minister Ludwig’s kneejerk decision to suspend exports in 2011,” he said.
Australia is the fifth-largest cattle exporter in the world and the second-largest sheep exporter in the world. There are between 8000 and 10,000 Australians employed in the live cattle export industry.
“An estimated 1500 farm businesses were identified as beef cattle specialists in the Northern live cattle export region alone, and of these around 180 derived more than half their receipts from live exports in the three years ending 2012–13,” said Senator Macdonald.
“Our producers can be proud of our disease-free status and the high quality of our animals, which gives us an advantage in this competitive market,” said Senator Macdonald.
The report examined the reasons countries continued to demand live imports instead of boxed meat and found that while it’s often to do with cultural and religious reasons, other factors include lack of refrigeration, unsuitability of land and/or climate for local production, support for a local meat processing industry and lower tariffs or higher subsidies on live imports compared with imported meat.
“In the nine months since the election of the Abbott government, the total value of live exports has topped $1 billion – that’s an important contribution to the national economy and Australia’s farming communities.”
Australia exports between 500,000 to one million head of cattle each year. About two to three million head of sheep are also exported each year, as well as between 60,000 and 80,000 live goats to our major markets in South-East Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.