Australian live cattle export market worth $1.4 billion

28 September 2022 2 min. read

Australia’s live cattle export trade contributes $1.4 billion to the national economy, benefiting producers, exporters, and other businesses within the sector. That is according to a study by economics consultancy ACIL Allen, commissioned by research bodies LiveCorp and Meat & Livestock Australia.

The study, headed by ACIL Allen Executive Director Jan Paul van Moort, analysed not just the value of cattle, but also other important factors like wages, salaries, taxes, and profits.

“The trade provides up to $88 million in value and 614 jobs for professional services industries related to live exports across Australia. There are additional flow-on effects to other areas of the economy such as wholesale and retail trade, health and social services, education, and utilities such as electricity, gas, water, and waste,” said Van Moort.

Australian live cattle export market worth $1.4 billion

Australia is one of the largest exporters of live cattle in the world, with the industry growing in recent years to meet demand from importers in South East Asian countries like Indonesia.

“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 that our trading partners value,” said Wayne Collier, Chief Executive Officer of LiveCorp.

Northern Australia is home to 74% of the market value of the live cattle export sector, with half of that concentrated in the Katherine, Barkly, and Kimberley regions. The live cattle export trade employs over 6,573 people full time (directly and indirectly), with 82% of all direct employment centred in 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,” said Collier.

Though the cattle industry is a pillar of the global food system, the industry contributes around 14% of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide and requires huge land usage, which can often link it to deforestation. Growing concern from international organisations over the sustainability of the industry has led the EU, for example, to set some limits on cattle industry emissions, causing major backlash from farmers in countries like the Netherlands.