THE Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) says it is disappointed but not surprised that Indonesia has again lowered its beef import quota.
CCA executive director David Inall said the recent announcement confirmed a 45,000 head reduction for 2013 compared with this year.
Mr Inall said it was good that there was now clarity around 2013 volumes, so producers and exporters could at least start planning for the reduced quota.
“We respect that it is Indonesia’s sovereign right to manage their import arrangements in a manner that suits their own domestic objectives, recognising of course their much-publicised push for self-sufficiency,” he said.
“The Australian cattle industry stands ready to assist in any way we can to strengthen the trade between our two countries, particularly as Indonesia’s economy grows, with beef consumption having every opportunity to grow in accord with the burgeoning Indonesian economy.”
Shadow Federal Agriculture Minister John Cobb said it was concerning that beef export volumes from Australia to Indonesia had dropped by more than 50 per cent since the trade was suspended in June last year.
Mr Cobb said the Australian beef industry was already “shattered” by the ongoing reductions and would face further pressure from the latest cut in quota numbers.
He said he hoped Minister Ludwig was talking to Indonesia about how Australia could help them become more sustainable and keep cattle supplies up, so they weren't eating into their herd.
Mr Cobb also raised concerns about animal welfare in northern Australia’s beef herd, with the cattle bred specifically for the live export market and the region lacking alternative markets or slaughter options.
He said the cattle would have to be sold for live export or transported long distances to southern Australia, into feedlots or other feeding options, to bring them up to the required slaughter weights.