Live Export

Ludwig flies to Jakarta to explain live export ban

James Nason, 20/06/2011

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Senator Joe Ludwig will meet with senior Indonesian officials in Jakarta today to discuss the Australian Government’s decision to suspend all live cattle exports to the market.

Since the announcement Mr Ludwig has maintained that Australian and Indonesian officials have been working closely together in relation to the ban, but his visit today is seen as an attempt to resolve mounting anger in Indonesia over Australia’s decision.

Indonesian Government officials have publicly questioned Australia’s decision to suspend the trade without first consulting Jakarta.

Indonesia’s agriculture minister Suswono, one of several Government officials Mr Ludwig will meet today, said last week that the Senator had not raised concerns about Indonesian slaughter practices when he last visited Jakarta in March.

The Australian newspaper has reported this morning that Government sources have indicated that the trade could be re-opened to a handful of accredited abattoirs within 21 days, if the supply chain assurances Senator Ludwig has demanded are delivered.  

While the Australian Government faces increasing pressure from agricultural leaders to resume trade to Indonesia as soon as possible, it is also facing mounting pressure from The Greens, Independent MPs, and animal welfare groups to go further and introduce a total ban on all live exports.

Protesters yesterday attended rallies in major cities across Australia calling for the Government to stop the trade permanently.

However farmers also attended some rallies to demonstrate in support of the live export trade.

The face-off prompted some “shouting matches and placard jostling” in front of television cameras but exchanges between the two groups were mostly good natured, AAP media reports said.

Mr Ludwig yesterday said Australia’s relationship with Indonesia was of tremendous importance.

“The Australian Government remains committed to working constructively and cooperatively with Indonesia on this issue,” he said.

Indonesia is Australia's fourth-largest market for agricultural exports, behind Japan, China and the US.

In 2009-10, the value of two-way trade between Australia and Indonesia was A$11.8 billion.


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