Northern talks find paths to fresh pasture
A gathering of hundreds of cattle graziers has highlighted the continuing fallout from a governmental snap decision in 2011.
Delegates for the live cattle export industry attended a summit in Townsville, north Queensland, for a conference on the damage to the industry caused by a ban two years ago.
Live cattle exports to Indonesia were hurriedly banned to douse outrage following media reports on the abuse of Australian animals at overseas slaughterhouses.
The ban was lifted not long after, but has been seen to do lasting damage to the industrial relationship of both nations.
Australian graziers were outraged at the hastily-imposed ban, which interrupted their scheduled shipments, leaving thousands of cattle stranded and graziers desperate for other market avenues to offload them.
There was discontent with the ban from Indonesian authorities too, who responded by reducing annual quotas for import of Australian products.
Demand for Australian cattle in Indonesia is steadily returning to previous levels, though reports from the conference say graziers believe there is still a long way to go.
The summit will discuss more ways to up-value Australian beef products, including through more stringent animal welfare requirements, improving public perception, and developing new market opportunities.
With more than 60 per cent of Queensland and large parts of north-west New South Wales now drought-affected, climatic conditions are set to dominate talks too.
Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce will deliver the key-note address today.