4 Oct 2013

Indonesia doubles Australian live cattle imports

8:18 pm on 4 October 2013

Australian cattle producers have welcomed an announcement that Indonesia will more than double its quota of live cattle imports in the next quarter.

The announcement followed Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot's visit to Indonesia earlier this week.

It's part of Indonesian moves to increase beef imports from countries such as Australia and New Zealand because its domestic cattle industry cannot meet growing demand, which has sent prices soaring there, the ABC reports.

The then Labour government in 2011 axed live export trade after cruel treatment in some Indonesian abattoirs was exposed. The trade has resumed but not at the old levels.

But Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce says there has been a breakthrough, with Indonesia agreeing to lift the number of live Australian cattle it accepts in the December quarter from 46,000 to 99,000.

"This is a step towards taking the trade back to where it formerly was, which was about 250,000 head a year," Mr Joyce says.

"It starts to relieve pressure on saleyards, which is extremely important during these dry times.

"People at saleyards now need to know that there is another venue and the prices that were being offered, where people were just basically almost giving them away, now there is another place for these cattle to go."

Northern Territory cattle farmer Rowan Sullivan told the ABC farmers had been looking forward to the announcement.

"The Indonesian Government has made announcements not so long ago that they were going to change their system for issuing permits to be based more on the price of beef in Indonesia, so we'd certainly look forward to an increase in permits," he says.