Part of a group of Indonesian agriculture students who are currently immersing themselves in the daily workings of the Top End cattle industry temporarily swapped the sweeping plains of the Territory for the corridors of power in Canberra yesterday.
As reported on Beef Central last week, 16 Indonesian students are currently enjoying a first-hand education of Australia's cattle industry at the invitation of the Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association's Indonesia Australia Pastoral Industry Student Program
Now in its second year, the NTCA initiative aims to expand the knowledge and awareness of the Indonesian students in the northern Australian pastoral industry.
"It will establish and expand relationships for mutual Australian and Indonesian industry growth and benefit, building on the already strong and long-standing pastoral industry relationships between northern Australia and Indonesia," NTCA chief executive Luke Bowen said.
Yesterday, three members from the group travelled to Canberra where they met with Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Trade Minister Craig Emerson, Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig and Regional Services Minister Catherine King. The Indonesian Ambassador also attended the meeting.
Deti Inayatun, from Bogor Agricultural University said: “It was a great experience for us. Meeting the Prime Minister far exceeded our expectations. I hope we can meet her again sometime.”
Yogi Sidik, from Gadja Mada University said “We were all so impressed with the Prime Minister and are very happy that our program is supported”.
The students arrived in Australia in early May and have been undertaking intensive pastoral industry training at the Katherine Rural College in the Northern Territory. They will commence six week work experience placements at cattle stations across the Northern Territory from May 20.
Their visit came on the same day that Animals Australia's Lyn White and independent Tasmanian Member Andrew Wilkie held a press conference again calling for the live export trade to be banned.
"In contrast, the NTCA is taking a proactive and forward focused approach to addressing animal welfare issues through the sharing of industry knowledge and information, and building long term relationships," Mr Bowen said.