The man who chaired Australia's independent review of the live export industry says the trade has a strong future because of new rules which demand animals be traced across the supply chain.
The Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) was one of Bill Farmer's key recommendations to the Federal Government after the live cattle trade to Indonesia was banned last year because of animal welfare concerns.
He says the roll-out of the system into all export markets was challenging, but the benefits to animal welfare and industry will be long-lasting.
"The new supply chain assurance model in effect protects industry," he said.
"Because it means that if there's a particular problem in a particular supply chain, then it's that supply chain which has a problem, not the industry as a whole.
"I think that's a very different thing to what we saw last year, where a lot of suppliers found themselves caught up in something not of their own making.
"There is certainly a lot of challenge involved in getting this right (supply chain assurance system), but let's get this in perspective.
"The challenge involved in getting it right is much better than the challenge involved in losing markets or really losing the confidence of the Australia people, because animal welfare is not being assured."
On Friday, Mr Farmer made a guest appearance at a pastoral conference at Broome in Western Australia and told pastoralists that their biggest customer, Indonesia, had little chance of achieving its self-sufficiency goal by 2014.
"It's a very big political issue in Indonesia," he said.
"I personally think that Indonesia has very little chance of achieving self-sufficiency in beef by 2014.
"I think what we see is a playing out there of both nationalist sentiment and some self-interest from people who are providing alternative sources of protein like boxed meat, chicken or fish."
By Fleur Bainger