Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig said the trade, worth A$318 million a year (B10 billion), would not start again until safeguards were in place to ensure animal welfare in Indonesia.
“We need to establish sufficient safeguards to ensure exporters provide verifiable and transparent supply chain assurance up to, and including, the point of slaughter for every consignment that leaves Australia,” he said.
“It will take some time to ensure that we have got supply chain assurance in place.
“I didn’t want to put a timeframe on it (but) the current suspension is up to six months. It is important that industry use that period to work through and come up with supply chain assurance.”
The blanket ban comes a week after Canberra suspended live beef exports to 11 Indonesian abattoirs that featured in a report by state television which showed gruesome footage of cattle being abused.
It included kicking, hitting, gouging of eyes and breaking of tails of some animals as Indonesian workers attempted to force them into slaughter boxes.
Indonesia vowed to investigate but has conceded there are no regulations in local law that could be used to sanction those found to be abusing animals.
Sixty per cent of Australia’s lucrative live cattle trade goes to its northern neighbour, with about 500,000 animals sent there each year.