Live export trade shows signs of confidence

Nicola KalmarBroome Advertiser

The head of a WA cattle organisation has urged Kimberley pastoralists to seize an opportunity to offload slaughter-ready cattle to Indonesia after Tony Abbott's recent visit to the country.

Fruitful discussions between Australia's Prime Minister and Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono about the live export industry has led to a major increase in quotas for 75,000 slaughter-ready cattle in the next three months, in addition to quotas for 46,000 feeder cattle already issued by Jakarta.

Pastoralists and Graziers Association WA president Rob Gillam welcomed the announcement which he described as a step forward, not only in strengthening ties between the countries but also for the Australian live export industry.

"I think it's a very good outcome … the additional 75,000 will be very welcome," he said.

"They (Indonesia) are getting confidence back, and this is just a further step of them showing they have more confidence in Australia."

However, Mr Gillam said sourcing the cattle would be "difficult", due to weight restrictions.

"It's a matter of enticing people to go out and find those last few that were left behind," he said.

"But the really important part about this is that it indicates that Indonesia (is) gaining confidence … what we really want to see going into the future is them taking more feeder cattle again."

Mr Gillam said it was hard to predict the proportion of cattle that could be sourced from the Kimberley, but urged pastoralists to check their livestock.

"Should there be anybody in the Kimberley who's got overweight cattle in ready-to-slaughter condition, I'm positive they will be able to sell them."

Mr Gillam commended Mr Abbott's promise to maintain an uninterrupted supply of livestock to the country, following Labor's decision to impose a temporary ban in 2011 due to animal welfare concerns.

"We need to get back to Indonesia having the confidence to import 500,000 plus cattle up to 600,000 plus out of North West Australia … that's where we were three years ago, and there's no reason why we can't go back there," he said.

"Australia needs to hold their end of the deal, which is (that) we will not interrupt the flow of cattle again in the future," he said.

"But it's got to be in the standards which are acceptable to the general Australian community as far as welfare is concerned."

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