Live Export

Govt will force MLA to pay $5m

Beef Central, 16/06/2011

The Federal Government has confirmed it will use its legislative powers to force Meat and Livestock Australia to use $5 million from its levy reserves to feed and care for the estimated 12,000 cattle still stranded in holding yards following its suspension of live cattle exports to Indonesia last Tuesday.

MLA has until June 22 to set up a compensation fund according to the Government’s order.

MLA’s initial response was to reject the request from agriculture minister Joe Ludwig, on the grounds the cattle were left stranded as a direct result of the Federal Government’s action.

Senator Ludwig has confirmed he will force the issue.

“It is particularly disappointing from an industry body which does not seem to accept their substantial role in relation to the current issues,” he told the media yesterday.

Western Australia’s Premier Colin Barnett has spoken out about the importance of the cattle industry to WA’s economy and has indicated that he will bypass the Gillard Government and deal directly with the Indonesian Government in seeking an accelerated resolution to the issue for WA cattlemen.

WA agriculture minister Terry Redman will fly to Indonesia to inspect abattoirs and talk directly with Government officials.

“About 50pc of live cattle exports and 75pc of live sheep exports come out of this state and I don’t have a lot of confidence in the politicians and the bureaucrats in Canberra to look after the interests of this state,” Mr Barnett told the Australian newspaper.

Some of the cross benchers upon whom the Gillard Government relies for support are now pushing for a total live ban.

Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie and Greens MP Adam Bandt have given notice of plans to introduce bills to Parliament on Monday June 20 calling for a ban on exports of all live animals for slaughter. 

Greens Senator Rachel Siewert yesterday introduced draft laws to parliament calling for an immediate ban on all live exports.

In early  June Labor backbenchers Janelle Saffin and Kelvin Thomson introduced a motion to Labor caucus calling for a halt to all live exports to Indonesia until abattoirs in the market complied with Australian standards.

On Tuesday the Labor caucus unanimously passed a motion for “the immediate cessation of live cattle exports to Indonesia until all slaughterhouses receiving Australian cattle comply with the international OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) standards, encouraging the use of stunning and requiring ongoing independent monitoring”.

Australian standards require stunning for all slaughter, while OIE standards do not require stunning.

Animal rights group the RSPCA said the final wording of the motion represented a backdown from the intiial position proposed by the backbenchers and said it would not guarantee the humane slaughter of animals in Indonesia. 


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