The Indonesia Australia Pastoral Industry Student Program pioneered by the NT Cattleman’s Association appears likely to be one of the first programs funded under the newly-launched $60 million Indonesia-Australia Partnership on Food Security in the Red Meat and Cattle Sector.
The partnership was first announced by then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on a visit to Jakarta in July last year, when he committed the Australian Government to provide $60 million in funding over 10 years to foster a deeper partnership between the meat industries in Australia and Indonesia.
Following the September 2013 Australian Federal Election, newly elected PM Tony Abbott confirmed his Government would honour the commitment, but it is only now, several months later, that some details on how the partnership will work are starting to emerge.
Members selected from industry and Government in both Australia and Indonesia will meet regularly to discuss and recommend how the $60m in funding should be spent to achieve the partnership’s aim of “improving the productivity, sustainability and competitiveness” of the red meat and cattle sector in Indonesia and Australia.
The Australian contingent of the Partnership will be represented by five industry stakeholders – Ken Warriner, Terry Nolan, Catherine Marriott, Chris Barnes and Gary Stark (more details at base of page) – and three Australian senior Government representatives.
The Indonesian delegation is still being finalised. The Australian team is hopeful of holding the first official meeting of the partnership in Jakarta on April 17.
A spokesman from the Department of Agriculture's Australian Indonesian Partnership told Beef Central today the first meeting will have two primary purposes.
The first will be to establish agreement on governance arrangements such as a terms of reference or a Memorandum of Understanding between the two Governments to define how the partnership and the fund itself will work.
The second part of the meeting will consider early nominations for projects to be funded under the partnership.
Two projects have already been nominated for funding which will be presented to the first meeting, one nominated from industry in Australia and the second nominated from industry in Indonesia.
The first is the NTCA-initiated Indonesia Australia Pastoral Industry Student Program, which in recent years has been funded from a number of different bodies including the NTCA itself and its members, the Department of Regional Australia, the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), Meat and Livestock Australia, and the Northern Territory Government.
The NTCA have sought support from the partnership to ensure the program continues to run.
In simple terms student program involves bringing Indonesian university students studying animal husbandry to the Northern Territory to learn about Australian cattle production systems and to strengthen cross-industry relationships between the Australian and Indonesian beef cattle industry.
In its first year in 2012 the program saw eight Indonesian students from two universities spend two weeks training and six weeks working on Australian cattle stations.
Last year the program grew to comprise 15 students from five universities undertake three weeks training and five weeks working on cattle stations.
The second project to be presented to the meeting for consideration was initiated from Indonesia and proposes that funding be made available to provide theoretical and practical courses in farm management, agricultural policy, and business training and other similar disciplines for post-graduate Indonesian students with five years industry experience working in the production, processing and Government sectors.
Ongoing work will assist in informing and helping the partnership to develop key priority areas of focus to assist Indonesia to develop its sector and also to assist in terms of identifying opportunities for investment from Australia into Indonesia.
The departmen spokesman said it was likely that the administrative details could take 12 months to bed-down, which meant it could take a similar time frame before significant project funding begins to flow.
The $60m allocated over ten years is divided between $10m provided by the Department of Agriculture and $50m from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Official Development Assistance.
In a media release on Wednesday confirming the Australian industry members of the partnership, federal agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce said the $60m partnership provided a way for government and industry in Australia and Indonesia to work together.
“As a government, we’re eager to explore opportunities and build partnerships that transfer skills and build local industries – here and in Indonesia,” Mr Joyce said.
“Improving the prospects for long term investment and trade in red meat and cattle into Indonesia remains a high priority for the Australian Government.”
The Australian industry members of the Partnership:
- Catherine Marriott, who brings capacity and relationship building experience in the livestock sector, from WA.
- Terry Nolan, who brings livestock processing and exporting experience, from QLD.
- Ken Warriner, who brings producing, exporting and business and investment experience, from the NT and QLD.
- Chris Barnes, who brings business and investment experience, from NSW.
- Gary Stark, who brings agricultural engineering, cattle handling and production experience, from QLD.
- Beef Central's James Nason is in Darwin for the NTCA conference, and will file reports in coming days. Click here to access all Beef Central's reports relating to the NTCA conference and associated events, as they unfold this week.