Livestock exports

​​​​Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, December 2017

These fact sheets provide current information about how the Australian Government is supporting the agriculture, fisheries and water sectors, and are available for download.


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Livestock exports

The livestock export industry is a major contributor to the Australian economy. It supports the livelihood of more than 10,000 people in rural and regional Australia who prepare and transport animals for export. In 2016–17 this industry contributed more than $1.6 billion to the Australian economy.

The Australian Government regulates the live animal export trade. Australia has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world for the export of livestock and is the only one of more than 100 countries that requires international animal welfare standards to be met. Australia’s ongoing participation in the livestock export trade provides an opportunity to raise animal welfare standards in importing countries.

Building a stronger live animal export industry

The Australian Government is driving a more profitable, resilient and sustainable live animal export industry by:

  • providing $60 million through to 2023 to fund programs under the Indonesia–Australia Partnership on Food Security in the Red Meat and Cattle Sector to build long-term trade and investment between Indonesia and Australia
  • advancing animal welfare across international supply chains, including committing $8.3 million to implement the Livestock Global Assurance Program
  • reviewing the Australian standard for the export of livestock so it is more adaptive, flexible and modern and incorporates the latest animal welfare research
  • streamlining the current agricultural export legislation into an improved Export Control Act and associated Export Control Rules to ensure export provisions are consistent across commodities where possible
  • expanding the overseas network of agricultural counsellors to develop and maintain markets for agricultural exports
  • opening new markets to expand agricultural exports.

Investments in transport infrastructure

Market access relies on having the right infrastructure in place to transport live animals to market. Upgrading key livestock roads and improving safety also reduces vehicle operating and maintenance costs.

The government is addressing infrastructure needs by investing in major upgrades and construction that will assist agriculture, including:

  • $50 billion for current and future infrastructure requirements, including $42 billion for the Infrastructure Investment Program to build the road and rail infrastructure for the 21st century
  • $600 million over 4 years to 2020 to upgrade high priority roads in northern Australia.

Key Facts

  • Australian live feeder and slaughter cattle exports are forecast to remain largely unchanged at $1 billion in 2017–18.
  • Exports are expected to increase by 4% to 850,000 head.
  • Export prices for Australian live cattle are forecast to average around $1,180 a head in 2017–18— a 6% reduction on the 2016–17 record average price of $1,260 a head and the third-highest average price on record.

Export markets by volume (head), 2016–17


Further information

General inquiry 1800 900 090
GPO Box 858, Canberra ACT 2601 ​

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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