The live export ban to Indonesia ban may be lifted but anger remains from all sides over the Federal Government’s handling of the crisis.
Nine Labor backbenchers have defied Julia Gillard’s decision to lift the suspension order, saying they will not support a solution that does not include pre-slaughter stunning as a mandatory requirement.
In a joint statement released by the Labor MPs yesterday, they also questioned the adequacy of auditing procedures outlined in the Government’s solution for Indonesia.
The NT Cattlemen’s Association says the cash flow crisis facing northern cattle producers caused by the ban will take more than a year to overcome.
NTCA president Rohan Sullivan has just returned from Indonesia as part of a joint NT Government and industry delegation.
He said that the lifting of the ban was “a great relief”, the reality was that a great deal of work remained to be done in Indonesia before the trade could return to some kind of normality.
“There are about 25 abattoirs that are being upgraded to meet the new standards required for us to export cattle, which is about a third of the facilities that normally take cattle,” Mr Sullivan said.
“We call on both the federal and state governments to assist MLA in upgrading the rest of the facilities and train the Indonesian abattoir workers.
“We also need to be mindful that the cattle that are shipped into Indonesia will spend 90 days or more in a feedlot before they go to the abattoir, so during that period we must ramp up our investment and human effort into the upgrades and training.”
Mr Sullivan said that cattle numbers leaving northern ports for Indonesia will be restricted for some time, which translates to continuing financial stress for producers waiting for cattle sales.
“There is no financial quick fix,” Mr Sullivan said.
The nine Labor backbenchers who signed the “no stun, no deal” joint statement were Kelvin Thomson (Vic), Anna Burke (Vic), Laura Smyth (Vic), Darren Cheeseman (Vic), Steve Gibbons(Vic), Mike Symon (Vic), Tony Zappia (SA), Steve Georganas (SA) and Melissa Parke (WA).
The RSPCA yesterday called on the Prime Minister to put legislation calling for a transition away from all live exports over three years to a conscience vote.
"A conscience vote is the only mechanism that will allow MPs to vote in line with their beliefs and the wishes of their constituents who overwhelmingly want this trade to end,” RSPCA chief executive Heather Neill said.
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