Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association (NTCA) President David Warriner has congratulated Indonesian industry, importers and Australian exporters on the implementation of the new Export Supply Chain Assurance Scheme (ESCAS) in Indonesia. Mr Warriner’s comments follow last week’s industry and producer tour of inspection of live export supply chains in Sumatra and Java, investigating performance of transport, feedlots and abattoirs across 3 key regions which account for the majority of the live export trade in Indonesia. The group included NTCA Executive, cattle producers, key industry partners and newly appointed Northern Territory Primary Industries Minister Willem Westra van Holthe.
The achievements have been truly outstanding said Mr Warriner. “It has been a pleasure to inspect newly upgraded abattoirs and see them operating quietly, calmly and efficiently, with no fuss, and importantly to the highest welfare standards. We now see the unprecedented uptake of stunning with over 80% of facilities stunning all cattle pre-slaughter and this will only increase, it’s a credit to Indonesia” said Mr Warriner.
The tour incorporated Australian Livestock exporter Australian Rural Exports (AUSTREX) who have now exported over 51,000 head of cattle into the Australian Government approved Indonesian supply chains, delivering 100% stunning. It has allowed the NTCA to get a strong understanding and appreciation of the level of commitment to ESCAS compliance from both Australian Live Exporters such as AUSTREX and their Indonesian buyers, in this case Pt Agro Giri Perkasa.
While driving a major culture change the cost of compliance with the new ESCAS system has been enormous. It certainly makes sense for the system to be continually reviewed to ensure that common sense is applied and industry is not made uncompetitive and lose trade, particularly in those countries where there are very viable alternatives to Australian animals, said Mr Warriner.
For NTCA Executive and National Farmer Federation delegate Tracey Hayes, this visit has been incredibly satisfying, observing the ESCAS system at work and the obvious significant changes made to improve animal welfare standards. “This has been my first visit to the Indonesian market since the cessation of the trade and I have been highly impressed with what I have seen. To stand alongside the slaughtermen and observe the stunning and slaughter process has been very reassuring, said Ms Hayes. The animals were handled in a calm and low stress manner and the abattoirs inspected opted for stunning, exceeding International OIE standards. To me this has demonstrated a commitment by exporters, importers and the Indonesian people to the animal welfare outcomes of Australian animals. The new system is designed for continual improvement and while we may see isolated breaches and challenges in the future this needs to be viewed in the context of, no system is perfect from day one” said Ms Hayes.
The tour has also been an opportunity to assess the relationship between Australia and Indonesia and get a perspective of the political, economic and cultural drivers behind Indonesian policy. “Relationships play a critical role and we need to be doing a lot more to grow that our relationship with Indonesia” said Mr Warriner. That is why we have had another group of NT producers and their families visiting this week to further a successful student exchange program which started this year, said Mr Warriner.
“When we step back to look at it, Indonesia is the world’s biggest Muslim country, the third largest democracy in the world and an emerging economic powerhouse right on our doorstep. While our relationship goes back a long way, it is now that we are increasingly seeing the importance of Indonesia as part of our own future, for security, trade and cultural exchange. No other relationship is, and arguably will be, as important as ours with Indonesia”, said Mr Warriner.
Despite the fact that our northern beef industry is currently is under extreme and compounding pressure, with increasing debt and diminished cash flow impacting on many producers, with the right policy settings and a focus on building market opportunities, the industry can rebuild and make a significant contribution to growing the northern economy. Building our trade and social relationship with Indonesia must therefore be a central plank in achieving this objective. said Mr Warriner
- Luke Bowen, NTCA Executive Director, (08) 8981 5976, 0427 815 990
- David Warriner, NTCA President, 0417 642 076
- Tracey Hayes, NTCA Executive, 0419 845 024
The Northern Territory Cattleman’s Association (NTCA)
The Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association is the peak primary industry group in the Northern Territory representing over 90% of the Territory’s cattle herd. With over 250 pastoral operations across, pastoral lease, Aboriginal freehold and other freehold land, our industry manages a landmass in excess of 700,000 square kilometres and a herd of over 2.1 million head. Annual turnoff is around 600,000 head to live-export and domestic markets.
The pastoral industry is the Northern Territory’s third largest GDP earner, accounting for more than 50% of primary production in the NT and generating over $400 million in direct income. The industry breeds and supplies high quality cattle for the domestic and export supply chains and on average, over 300,000 cattle pa were exported live through the Port of Darwin. Live cattle exports are of critical importance to the northern pastoral industry and the northern Territory economy as a whole.
The industry directly provides in excess of 1900 jobs directly, mainly in rural areas of the Northern Territory and the NTCA operates a highly successful Indigenous employment program engaging over 60 Indigenous people in long term employment each year. By area, employment and economic contribution the pastoral industry is the dominant industry in land management in the NT, with a predominant focus on long-term sustainable production. Over 85% of all NTCA members are active participants in Conservation, Environmental and Landcare groups throughout the Northern Territory and the Association encourages members to join their local groups.
With a strong industry focus on the emerging economies of South East Asia the NTCA invests in building relationships in the region. This includes student exchange and scholarship programs with Indonesian universities and industry and capacity building initiatives to improve efficiency of Indonesian production systems.
NTCA members include all of the country’s largest beef producers including the Australian Agricultural Company (AACo), Consolidated Pastoral Company (CPC), S Kidman & Co, Heytesbury Beef, North Australian Pastoral Company (NAPCO), Georgina Pastoral Company, The Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) and Paraway. These companies operations extend beyond the Northern Territory to cover vast tracts of northern, eastern and Western Australia.