Territory Stories

Budget 2013/14 Northern Territory Economy



Budget 2013/14 Northern Territory Economy

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Tabled paper 295


Tabled Papers for 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT




Tabled by David Tollner


Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory under Standing Order 240. Where copyright subsists with a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.




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150 Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing 2013-14 Budget Livestock The cattle industry has a large economic impact on the Territory through its linkages in the economy via expenditure on cattle transport, stock feed, wages, port charges and demand for services such as quarantine inspection and veterinary requirements. In turn, this provides significant employment opportunities, particularly in regional parts of the Territory, and substantial export income, which supports regional economic growth. Cattle are produced across the Territory, with the VictoriaRiverDistrict, located 500kilometres south of Darwin, having some of the most successful pastoral ventures in northern Australia. A significant proportion of these properties carry Brahman cattle for the live cattle export trade. Brahman cattle are also reared in the Top End and Gulf regions for the live export trade while Arnhem Land has a few small properties such as at Gunbalanya, which produce cattle to supply fresh meat to local communities in addition to live exports. The Barkly Tablelands supports a substantial cattle industry due to its productive native pasture and a comprehensive network of bores that feed raised earth dams for watering. The majority of properties in the BarklyTablelands are corporate entities with companies tending to move cattle to affiliated company properties in Queensland or other states during drought periods or for fattening. The Central Australian region, which includes Alice Springs, is dominated by the Hereford and Shorthorn cattle types, the majority of which are sent to abattoirs in SouthAustralia for processing. Cattle production is influenced by weather and economic conditions in the Territory and elsewhere in Australia, as well as economic conditions overseas, and recently, government policies. Up to 200910, a large proportion of cattle raised in the Territory were exported overseas, primarily to Indonesia. In recent years, however, policy changes by the Indonesian and Australian governments (see next page) have led to a significant reduction in live cattle exports, particularly to Indonesia. Nevertheless, the industry has adapted to these changing circumstances by increasing cattle exports to other Australian states. The value of cattle production in the Territory is estimated to decrease by 17.1percent to $298million in 201213, mainly due to decreasing live cattle exports internationally. Around 40percent of the cattle produced in the Territory are expected to be exported to international markets in 201213, significantly lower than the high of 60percent reported in 200910. The Territory currently has no certified abattoir capable of processing large numbers of cattle. Producers must therefore transport their animals interstate to be processed for the interstate and overseas beef markets. The Australian Agricultural Company (AACo) commenced construction of an abattoir at Livingstone in Darwins rural area in February 2013. Once operational, the abattoir is expected to process cattle from AACo properties and other livestock producers in northern Australia. The new abattoir is expected to provide major benefits to the cattle industry in the Territory by reducing transport and freight costs, eliminating carcass weight loss incurred during journeys over long distances, and processing older cattle that are not suitable for export. The company estimates that the transport Cattle