Live Export

Reinstate best abattoirs asap: Coalition

Beef Central, 14/06/2011

The Federal Opposition says that resuming live cattle exports to the seven Indonesian abattoirs already classed as “A-Grade” facilities by Australian authorities should be the first priority of the Gillard Government in its management of the live export issue.

The Coalition yesterday tabled a motion in both houses of parliament outlining the path it believes the Government and industry should take to resolve Indonesian live export crisis.

The proposal calls for the Australian Government to work as quickly as possible to get the seven A-Grade facilities in Indonesia accredited and back on line “in days, not months”.

NSW Independent, Tony Windsor, supported the principle behind the plan during comments on ABC radio this morning.

The Coalition plan says Government and Industry officials should be on the ground in Indonesia bringing other facilities up to scratch, starting with the 18 abattoirs currently classed as B-grade facilities, a process that should not take more than a few weeks, it says.

At the same time, the Coalition says the government must provide assistance to those farmers and exporters stranded with cattle they can no longer sell. Others with existing contracts, cattle in holding facilities, shipping charter bills and animals already in Indonesia would also require immediate assistance.

In a statement released last night opposition spokesmen Warren Truss, John Cobb and Senator Richard Colbeck said the total ban was ill-conceived and badly implemented with no thought of the consequences.

It had put the economy of northern Australia at “extreme risk”.

The Coalition supported the ban on facilities that fail to comply with acceptable animal welfare practices, but said time was now of the essence to get the industry back up and running, with banks already warning of the financial implications ahead.

“Working with the Indonesian government to bring more abattoirs up to standard, including introducing stunning equipment, is imperative,” the Coalition statement said.

“Getting Australia cattle through the seven approved abattoirs will take some immediate pressure off those Australian businesses most severely exposed, while getting the remaining facilities appropriately equipped, manned and operating will, in due course, see the trade resume fully.

“Unless the government moves very quickly to accredit Indonesia’s best practice abattoirs, this blanket ban will force Indonesia to import live cattle from elsewhere and animal welfare standards will not be improved.

“Limiting the resumption of trade to only those that meet our animal welfare expectations will send a clear message to other abattoirs to lift their game if they want to do business with Australia.”


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