Live Export

Trade sec denies conflict in anti-livex stance

James Nason, 12/02/2013

Federal Labor MP Kelvin Thomson says his vocal stance against Australia’s livestock export industry does not conflict with his newly appointed role as parliamentary secretary for trade.

Mr Thomson’s elevation to the senior trade post by prime minister Julia Gillard last week has left live export industry leaders and members of the Federal Opposition questioning the Government’s commitment to the $1 billion per year trade.

As recently as November 29 last year Mr Thomson tabled a petition in Federal Parliament containing 60,000 signatures calling for an end to livestock exports from Australia.

Mr Thomson told Beef Central late last week that he will be following Government policy in his trade role and warned people against “jumping at shadows”.

“The Prime Minister does not intend to close down the live animal export trade, and people do the industry no favours by jumping at shadows and trying to raise concerns where none are warranted,” Mr Thomson said.

“There is no conflict of interest between my strong commitment to animal welfare and performing the role of Parliamentary Secretary for Trade.

“I will be expressing Government policy- if I’m meeting trade officials from other countries I’ll be putting forward the Government’s position. A strong commitment to animal welfare is very much in the interests of Australian meat producers, and it is wrong to assert or imply that a strong commitment to animal welfare is inconsistent with the industry’s best interests.

“Austrade does not have any responsibility for the regulation of the live animal exports industry or the approval of individual exports. This responsibility lies with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

“The promotion and marketing of the live export industry and the chilled meat trade is being carried out by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA)”.

Mr Thomson has also been actively lobbying for the establishment of an independent Office of Animal Welfare , to develop, review and enforce domestic animal welfare laws and the surveillance and enforcement of live animal export regulation.

He has stated he will present a preferred model for the office to the Government for consideration by the end of this month.


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