The Federal Government has foreshadowed a new compensation package for cattle producers directly affected by the Indonesian live export ban.
The assurance of greater assistance comes as the Federal Opposition accuses the Gillard Government of driving Australia’s $320m live cattle trade to Indonesia to the brink of collapse.
Leader of the Nationals Warren Truss said 28,000 northern jobs were now under direct threat as a result of the protracted ban.
“Further, reprisals now appear certain with whispers from Jakarta indicating that both Australian live cattle and our boxed meat quota – which, last year, was worth $162 million in its own right – will be shut out and no longer welcomed,” Mr Truss said.
“This fiasco has dragged on long enough. Julia Gillard has been a passive observer but must now earn her keep by getting personally involved. She needs to be on the phone to Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono right now."
However the prime minister told a press conference during a community cabinet meeting in Darwin yesterday that she was optimistic for the future of the industry.
She said details of a financial compensation package for cattle producers directly affected by the ban would be announced soon, and called on banks to show compassion when dealing with impacted businesses.
The Australian cattle industry yesterday stepped in and released $5m in funds from an emergency animal health reserve to satisfy Senator Joe Ludwig’s calls for the industry to play a role in funding compensation.
At the Meat Profit Day near Eidsvold on Tuesday Meat and Livestock Australia chairman Don Heatley said the clear message he had received from producers across Australia was that the best way to solve the industry’s problems was to get the trade operating again as soon as possible.
“It (the industry) wants the best piece of compensation you can have and that is ships moving north, not trucks moving south in Australia.”
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