Benefits of trade

The livestock export trade is of great importance to regional and rural Australia and vital to the red meat industry.

Since the mid 1970s the livestock export trade has grown significantly to become a vital component of Australia’s agricultural export earnings.

Live exports are a legitimate trade providing farmers with a valuable alternative to domestic slaughter.

Australia is one of the largest export suppliers of quality livestock to world markets generating almost $700 million in direct export earnings in 2005.

About 570,000 cattle, 4.2 million sheep, and 40,000 goats were exported to more than 30 countries in 2005.

There is evidence that if Australia were to withdraw from live exports, there would be no increased trade in processed Australian meat.

When Australia’s live export trade to Saudi Arabia was suspended, there was no significant increase in the meat trade during that period. In fact, the trade in meat to this market only increased when live exports resumed.

Domestically, if the live trade ceased, the drop in sheep and cattle prices and the loss of revenue to our producers and their regional communities would be quite significant.

The trade creates in order of 9,000 jobs in rural and regional Australia - jobs for ancillary suppliers and services such as livestock agents, transport operators, exporters, stevedores and shipping companies.

It also benefits feedlot operators, fodder and chemical suppliers, veterinarians, saleyards, stockmen, port authorities, helicopter mustering services and the finance and insurance sectors.

Live Cattle Export Trade: Importance to Northern and Southern Australian Beef Industries PDF Icon PDF [2.4mb]