It's interesting to note that while the live export market seems to be waning, red meat export from Australia is skyrocketing.
Meat and Livestock Australia has reported that Australian exports to the Middle East in May are at record levels, 46 per cent more than this time last year (and five times more than they were a decade ago). Especially notable is the increased meat imported by Saudi Arabia despite their suspension of Australian live sheep imports.
Perhaps we dont have to send live animals to the Middle East after all?
It seems that people are coming to realise that our producers are relying too heavily on live export. In an article in Weekly Times Now Sam Paton, a rural property valuer at Agribusiness Valuations Australia, said that northern cattle producers were too heavily reliant on live export to Indonesia even before the 2011 suspension.
According to a 2009 Meat and Livestock Australia report, averaged debt per unit of livestock doubled over the course of a decade and returns on assets had crashed to less than 2%.
Indonesia dictates the conditions of Australia's live export trade. If they decide to refuse our stock, what then?
Australian Agricultural Company (AACO) are awaiting a Public Environment Report for their proposed new, state-of-the-art export abattoir at Livingstone Valley in the Northern Territory. Just think ... 250 new permanent jobs, many new businesses, better security for northern pastoralists and of course decreased live export. What a win-win this would be. We need to encourage governments to upgrade the public infrastructure to facilitate this project e.g. roads, electricity, gas and water access, rail crossings and sidings.