Live exporting companies Wellard Rural Exports and Elders' North Australian Cattle Co have welcomed the Federal Government's decision to rescind the order that suspended live cattle exports to Indonesia.
In a statement issued in response to the lifting of the suspenion, Wellard said it had been working closely with the Australian Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and its commercial partners in Indonesia to develop, verify and operate a supply chain that meets the newly developed animal welfare and traceability standards.
"Many abattoirs in Indonesia had already invested in modern facilities to optimise animal welfare outcomes, however the changes required to meet the traceability and verification standards are substantial.
"Wellard will submit a Notice of Intent to Export cattle to Indonesia to the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service once it is confident those standards can be met by the company and its commercial partners in Indonesia.
"Importantly, the removal of the suspension order by the Australian Government is a significant first step in facilitating the release of Indonesian cattle import permits to our Indonesian customers," the statement said.
The National Farmers Federation, Meat and Livestock Australia, Livecorp, Cattle Council of Austrlaia and the state farm organisations issued a joint statement supporting the lifting of the ban.
"While this is an important first step for cattle producers, exporters and businesses impacted so heavily by the suspension, the recommencement of the trade will be gradual to those supply chains that meet approved international standards, and export volumes may not return to normal levels for a considerable period of time.
"While ever volumes remain below normal levels producers in northern Australia will continue to suffer.
"The industry and Government must now work together with Indonesia to bring additional facilities up to international standards, so that the $320 million a year trade can return to normal levels as soon as possible while also assuring the welfare of Australian cattle throughout the supply chain."
Elders chief executive Malcolm Jackman said on ABC televison that he expected some cattle trade would resume by the end of the month, but a lot of work was still required before that could happen..
"We are targeting an August 1 launch for our first shipment but there's a fair amount of legwork and paperwork to be done to get an export licence in line with the new protocols," he said.
"We need to complete the audit to complete the supply chain which is underway in Indonesia at the moment.
"We still have to get an export licence from the Government – there's a fair amount of work to go through that process – and also we still need to go through the process of getting an import permit from the Indonesian director-general."
NT Cattlemen's Association chief executive Luke Bowen said the partial resumption of trade was a "strong signal" from the government that it was committed to the future of the live export industry, but told the Australian newspaper that the industry was "certainly not expecting the resumption of the trade at historic levels". He predicted only 30 to 40 per cent of the trade would resume this year.
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