Woolner floodplain

Benefits of live export to northern Australia quantified

Australia’s live cattle export trade contributes $1.4 billion to the national economy and employs 6,573 people, with more than 80% of direct value being contributed by northern Australia. The region also contributes 74% of the farm gate value of the trade.

A new report commissioned by research bodies LiveCorp and Meat & Livestock Australia articulates the positive contribution of the industry, not just to producers and exporters, but to those who work in related sectors and regions.

In 2020-21, the live cattle export industry directly and indirectly contributed $363 million to the Northern Territory economy and employed 1,275 full-time equivalent workers (FTEs), $302 million and 1,605 FTEs in Queensland and $218 million and 966 FTEs in Western Australia.

ACIL Allen Executive Director Jan Paul van Moort, who conducted the study, noted that northern Australia regularly supplies more than 800,000 head of cattle to live exports annually, although that has been impacted in recent years.

“Cattle production systems in northern Australia have been transformed to meet the requirements of South East Asian markets.

“We analysed the value of the industry to 18 regions, from the Pilbara to the Bowen Basin. The distribution of the economic contribution varied, with three regions – Katherine, Barkly and the Kimberley – together contributing around half the value and the employment,” Mr van Moort said.

“As well as the value of the cattle, the contribution is measured by the industry’s impact on things like wages, salaries, profits and taxes.”

LiveCorp Chief Executive Officer Wayne Collier noted that the value of the live export sector to northern Australia extends beyond the sale of cattle.

“The proximity of northern Australia and having a climate similar to its largest export destinations, particularly in South East Asia, are highly beneficial in terms of transportation costs and animal welfare, and the northern pastoral systems produce the high-quality livestock our trading partners value,” Mr Collier said.

“Conducting this analysis provides up-to-date information to help us to better understand the important role the trade plays to the communities and businesses of northern Australia.

“It’s important to also recognise how the live export trade affects the economic wellbeing of the whole supply chain. It’s not just rural and regional communities in Australia, but those in destination markets who rely on our cattle to help provide nutrition and contribute to food security and affordability.”

A copy of the ACIL Allen report, The economic contribution and benefits of the northern live export cattle industry, can be found here.

LiveCorp Media Release

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