THE MID-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook includes investment in Australia’s export trade system, which the federal government says will help secure biosecurity defences and help the live cattle trade, among other initiatives.

The Agriculture Trade and Exports package, worth $104.3 million over three years, is to continue to build resilience into the agricultural sector, the government said.

Minister for agriculture, fisheries and forestry Murray Watt said the package would ensure Australia’s ability to trade and generate jobs from our agricultural exports is maintained.

“The nature of international trade is changing,” Mr Watt said.

“We’ve seen in the last few years an increase in the cost of delivering key trade and export regulatory activities required to meet the expectations of our international trading partners.”

Mr Watt said the expectations of Australia’s trading partners and consumers overseas, as well as Australian export industry are changing and are more complex.

“It’s vital this access is maintained for Australian exports to continue supplying these markets, so we can continue to supply jobs up and down the supply chain in regional Australia,” he said.

“That’s why we have committed $91.8 million over the next two years to keep providing the services we need to enable agricultural trade and exports.”

He said the work would develop a sustainable funding model for the services that are needed to support Australia’s $83-billion export industries over the long term.

Bovine trade boost

Mr Watt said the government was also responding to Indonesia and Malaysia’s decisions to temporarily halt cattle and buffalo exports from Australia.

“Our MYEFO trade package also includes $8.8 million to support the ongoing trade of live cattle with Indonesia and Malaysia,” he said.

“While both countries have resumed trade, the disruption caused uncertainty for some exporters in northern Australia. It’s an important trade for both Australia and Indonesia, in 2022 alone 57% of all live cattle and buffalo exports, worth $562 million, went from Australia to Indonesia.”

Biosecurity funding

Minister Watt said Australia’s success as major exporter of food and fibre products is dependent on our clean, safe reputation.

“This is underpinned and enforced by our robust and fully funded biosecurity system,” he said.

“We are committed to securing Australia’s biosecurity, which is why we have committed $268.2 million over four years to continue the eradication program for red imported fire ants in Queensland.

“This is on top of the $1 billion we secured in the May budget for a Sustainable Biosecurity Funding model.