Australia Encouraged By Indonesians Agreeing To Review How Cattle Import Rules Can Work Better
Indonesia and Australia have agreed to work through difficulties about new cattle quotas which require 20 per cent to be breeders.
The cattle trade ground to a halt in September, with six vessels waiting off the Darwin, Townsville and Broome Ports leading to more costly shipping, as a result of the new import rules.
Indonesia's Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita announced last month that 20 per cent of all Australian imported cattle would need to be for breeding purposes.
Australian consultants in Jakarta said it created a shortage of Australian cattle in feedlots and the need to slaughter domestic cattle.
In a meeting brokered by Australian Trade Minister Steve Ciobo, Australian Livestock Exporters Association chairman Simon Crean and exporters told the Indonesians feedlots were not suitable for breeder cattle.
"From our experience in Australia, and we told them, that feedlots are not effective as a breeding mechanism," said Mr Crean on his arrival back in Australia today.
"Breeding is more effectively done in open pasture, if you like.
"That requires capability, land availability, assistance of both government and industry and that takes time, and that we have to work through with the Indonesian Government."
The export of 300 breeder cattle to graze among palm oil trees in Kalimantan under the Australia-Indonesia beef cattle program is seen as the best example.
"Those pilot programs provide a segue into how they can be done on a commercial scale," Mr Crean said.
He said there was an encouraging outcome because a working party was formed immediately and another meeting was being held today.
Mr Crean backed away from calling Indonesia's review of the breeding quota a "back down."
"I don't want to type-cast it that way, but I think there were very encouraging signals as to how the requirements that they are looking to can be adjusted."
Under discussion now are the quota itself, the timeline and alternatives to feedlots.