A re-elected Country Liberals Government in the Northern Territory will invest $4.1 million to implement best-practice standards for livestock handling at the Berrimah Export Yards.
The next Northern Territory general election is scheduled for August 27, 2016 to elect all 25 members of the Legislative Assembly.
Chief Minister Adam Giles said the commitment would improve facilities, boost animal welfare and support sustainable development of the live-export trade.
Mr Giles said the NT Livestock Exporters Association (NTLEA) had put forward a compelling case for the upgrade.
“The Berrimah export yards are a vital link in the live cattle export supply chain,” he said.
“More than 20 years of high cattle throughput, along with substantial market growth, has left the facility in need of improvement.
“Sheds are needed to provide shade and overcome problems with mud in the wet season.
“The Country Liberals are committed to developing a world-class livestock facility that maintains high standards for animal exports.”
Primary Industries Minister Gary Higgins said in 2014-15 more than 600,000 head of cattle were exported from Darwin, with pre-export quarantine responsibilities shared between four premises, including Berrimah.
Mr Higgins said the proposed works include two roof-only 200x50m sheds; five yards of 160sq metres each containing feed and water troughs; three 80,000-gallon water tanks; excavation and landscaping.
“This investment by the Country Liberals will boost confidence in the cattle industry after Labor nearly killed the live export trade in 2011,” Mr Higgins said.
“It will consolidate Darwin’s position as the major cattle export centre in Australia.”
NTLEA chief executive Stuart Kemp welcomed the Government’s commitment.
“This will give us the capacity to have a full boat load of cattle safely housed in all weather conditions,” Mr Kemp said.
“The live export industry has made a significant investment in improving animal welfare outcomes across all of our markets following the lessons of 2011 and that work is ongoing.
“We know there is more to be done and this investment in raising pre-export standards shows our trade partners that we are working to raise standards through the entire supply chain.
“The construction of large covered areas will also allow for rainwater collection, which will reduce dependence on town water, and assist with watering stock and suppressing dust.”
Mr Giles said funding would be provided in the 2017-18 Budget, if the Country Liberals are elected, for works to begin in the 2017 dry season.