About Us

Key facts:

  • Leather production is one of Australia’s oldest industries renowned for its quality.
  • The industry saves around 8 million cattle hides and over 26 million sheep, goat and kangaroo skins from landfill every year.
  • AHSLEA members only source from government-registered meat processors with Australia’s strict animal welfare legislation.
  • Eligible Australian leather processors are rated on sustainability by the internationally recognised Leather Working Group.
  • Leather plays a key role in the circular economy.

The Australian hide, skin and leather industry features several family businesses that have operated through multiple generations.

Australian leather

Along with the desire to retain intergenerational knowledge, is a drive to modernise the process and meet changing customer needs. This evolution has been taking place over the last four decades, operating under Australia’s strict environmental protection regulations which has ensured the Australian leather industry is amongst the cleanest in the world.

The Australian Hide Skin and Leather Exporters Association (AHSLEA) is the representative body of companies involved in the processing and exporting of Australia’s hide, skin and leather production. As a national body, AHSLEA is a member of the International Council of Hides, Skins and Leather Traders’ Associations (ICHSLTA) and actively participates in the Council’s activities, including attending annual meetings.

To promote fairness and consistency in arrangements and terms, AHSLEA encourages the use of International Contracts for hides, skins and finished leather in members’ commercial operations.

Members regularly exhibit at leather trade fairs around the world and the Association provides booth facilities at major leather fairs where there is a particular Australian interest.

The Australian
leather industry
in numbers.

AHSLEA members source hides and skins from Australia’s extensive cattle and sheep populations. At any given time, the country’s cattle herd numbers around 28.5 million head, with the largest populations found in Queensland (48%), New South Wales (23%), and Victoria (17%).

Australia has a sheep flock of around 75 million head, with Victoria accounting for the largest share of sheep/lamb slaughtering at over one-third (40%) of the total, followed by New South Wales (24%), South Australia (19%), Western Australia (13%), Queensland (2%), and Tasmania (2%).

Types of hides/skins exported






Sheep & Lamp





Size of the
industry 2021

Export Markets




Export industry is worth

$598 M

Leather Processors


Meat Coproduct

29.6 million animals slaughtered in Australia for meat in 2021. This valuable export by-product would otherwise end up in landfill if not for hide and skin exports.

Export Hidens