9 July 2014
A Northern Territory diplomat based in Jakarta, says Australia’s live cattle trade has a strong future with Indonesia regardless of whoever wins today’s presidential election.
The Northern Territory’s Commissioner for Indonesia, Terry Mills, has been following the campaign closely.
He says both candidates want to expand Indonesia’s local cattle industry to improve food security.
But he doesn’t believe those ambitions will hurt Australia’s live export trade.
“They’re very different men, but they both have a similar platform and it’s largely nationalistic,” Mr Mills said.
“It’s not about [Indonesia] taking complete control over the supply of cattle internally, but it’s about forming strategic relationships.
“Both of them [candidates] talk about the need to have more cattle bred in the outlying areas of Indonesia… and that provides Australia with the opportunity to supply breeding cattle.
“Either way there’s going to be an opportunity for northern Australia to supply this market, but it’s just about how we do that and there may be some changes.
“But I don’t think there’s a threat of the supply of cattle to Indonesia.”
Mr Mills is predicting a swing towards presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto in today’s Indonesian election.
He says the other candidate, Joko Widodo, is popular but hasn’t run a very good campaign.
“It’s been disorganised and his supporters have dropped away,” he said.
“Prabowo on the other hand started fairly well behind, but has but has gained very strong support for a very focused campaign particularly outside of Java.”
185 million voters head to the polls
Former head of the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association and now CEO of the newly established Northern Australia Development Office, Luke Bowen, won’t say which candidate he thinks will best favour Australia’s cattle industry, but says both candidates have decent connections to the industry.
“There has been a bit of contact with Prabowo through the industry when I was previously involved and he’s an interesting character,” he said.
“But there’s no real strong indication of whether the industry or northern Australia will be better placed [under him].”
Mr Bowen says the other candidate, Jakarta’s current Governor, Joko Widodo, is a strong advocate for keeping food affordable.
“Particularly when the supply of beef was a big problem, he was trying to open the channels up.”
Courtesy of ABC Rural