WA beef cattle producers and industry representatives are ready to take the nation's live cattle export industry to new heights.
It's a case of Life after Ludwig, a reference to the knee-jerk decision by Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig to stop the trade following strong lobbying by animal welfare activists.
Since the ban on live exports in June this year, the beef industry in northern Australia has had to face a stream of unparalleled complications and difficulties, especially in regards to the public perception and image of those involved with the industry.
But Wellards Rural shipping manager Tim O'Donnell believes that through the system of supply chain assurance, the industry will bounce back from this setback.
Speaking at the WA Northern Beef Forum in Broome recently, he said the industry would recover.
"But it is imperative we don't take the pressure off and get complacent," he said. "Especially after all the work that has been done to put systems in place to ensure something like this never happens again."
The major exporting facilities of the North West are located in Broome and Wyndham and despite the ban Broome has seen over 90,000 head go through its facility since the start of the year, which is almost the same number as last year.
"It is for this reason we can't take our foot off the pedal," Mr O'Donnell said.
"Despite the fact we are almost in the same position we were in last year, we must keep moving forward and make changes to the industry to ensure it's survival into the future.
"It will be easy for people to sit back now but we have to keep the pressure on."
Supply Chain Assurance (SCA) is the new management system put in place by industry bodies following the recommendations of the Farmer Report to ensure each and every individual beast is monitored and tracked from discharge right through to the point of slaughter.
"It is all about having a transparent supply chain with all information available to the public and all livestock accounted for right throughout the system," Mr O'Donnell said.
"We also have an independent third party auditing and verifying each section of the chain."
SCA has only been in place since the ban and due to its short time in operation there have been no shipments that have gone the whole way through the system.
"We haven't had any cattle go right through from discharge, export, feedlotting to the point of slaughter since the system has been in place," Mr O'Donnell said.
"The first cattle will move out of the system to slaughter within the next few weeks which enables us to have a full audit of the entire system."
Indonesia has a good understanding of SCA and has been working together with Australian industry to meet targets, but the system has struggled in some of the other regions that offer alternative markets for the heavier cattle.
"Egypt has two approved facilities and while Turkey has some facilities that meet SCA requirements there are many there that won't," Mr O'Donnell said.
"Saudi Arabia will also be tough to bring up to speed because they are heavily opposed to being dictated to by Australia and being told what they can and can't do with their own cattle."
Mr O'Donnell said that SCA has also met with enormous resistance in the Middle East.
"The Middle East has taken issue as they want a government-approved letter to outline these are the new requirements, but the Australian Government is unwilling to get involved in these government to government discussions," Mr O'Donnell said.
"Other regions, such as the Philippines, are struggling with the new burden of paper work that has come out of the traceability requirements which is a lot of extra work for no real price benefits to those regions."
Mr O'Donnell also said that animal welfare and public perception will remain major issues faced by the industry in the future but that the new SCA system will ensure the survival and profitability of the trade.
"Live export is critical to northern Australia and it is a very defendable trade," he said.
"The industry has been through the worst and can only get better and stronger through these new systems."