Back to News & Events

Subscribe to MLA’s newsletters

Stay informed with the latest red meat and livestock industry news, events, research and marketing.

Sign up

Australian red meat positioned strongly in the global market

05 October 2021

Key points:

  • In 2019–20, Australia’s red meat and livestock industry turnover was $69.9 billion, up 5% on revised 2018–19 figures
  • In 2019–20, the Australian red meat and livestock industry employed approximately 445,000 people
  • Australia is the largest sheepmeat exporter and second largest beef exporter, behind Brazil
  • Red meat and livestock exports totalled approximately $18.4 billion in 2019–20, an increase of 11% year on year and 23% higher than 2015–16 levels
  • Over the past 20 years, total global consumption of meat has been steadily increasing at an average annual rate of 1% for beef, 2% for sheepmeat, 1% for pork, and 5% for poultry

The Australian red meat and livestock industry’s ability to adapt and respond to significant challenges over the past 12 months has positioned the sector strongly in the global market, according to the State of the Industry Report 2021, produced by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) and released today.

The report provides an overview of Australia’s red meat and livestock industry, including figures on production, consumption, exports, the economic significance of the industry, attitudes to red meat and key issue snapshots.

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud said the red meat and livestock industry is of great importance to Australia.

“The industry has demonstrated resilience over the past few years dealing with drought, floods, bushfires and now COVID.”

“And this report is a great reflection of the beef, sheep and goat industry’s sheer determination of continuing to get on with the job of producing the world’s best livestock.

“The entire red meat industry is critical to regional Australia with 90 per cent of the 445,000 employees living in regional locations.

“The Australian Government continues to stand by the industry, providing matching research and development funding to Meat and Livestock Australia and working closely with the industry on market access and development opportunities.”

Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) Managing Director Jason Strong said overall Australia’s red meat and livestock industry was in fantastic shape with minimal disruptions through the global pandemic thanks to years of innovation and hard work from red meat producers.

“Over many years we have worked on improving what we do, building relationships and diversifying our red meat markets which meant as the impact of the global pandemic arose, we were able to ride it out with minimal disruptions to export volumes and values, especially relative to other industries,” Mr Strong said.

“Much of the commentary about consumers declining commitment to red meat is overblown and out of context. Australian red meat continues to be recognised as a high-quality protein of choice across the globe.

“We have a premium product with a first-rate reputation that consumers are willing to pay top dollar for which puts us in a unique position and allows the industry to strive towards the ambitious goal to double the value of red meat sales by 2030.

“Our job is to find the most discerning consumers both here and around the world and make sure they continue to be excited to eat our product - getting people comfortable with the fact that Australian red meat is a high value, premium product should remain our focus. The combination of both value and consumption volumes contribute to the success of our industry.

“It is crucial that the red meat and livestock industry continues to unite right across the supply chain to further improve the productivity and profitability of the entire sector. We have a very exciting future ahead.”

Click here to view a copy of the State of the Industry Report 2021.