AS THE Federal election countdown continues, the Labor Party today launched a six-point plan covering animal welfare, pledging to “reinstate national leadership in animal welfare matters and dedicating resources to a new national framework.”
“Our six-point plan will ensure respecting animal welfare standards is a top priority for every industry that works with animals,” agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon said.
“Protecting animal welfare and boosting sustainable profitability in the agriculture sector aren’t competing aims – they support one another,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.
“The growing demand for high quality and ethically produced food means Australia’s producers must embrace the highest animal welfare standards to remain internationally competitive.”
“We’ve already seen how turning a blind eye to systemic cruelty damages our reputation, fuels community concern and allows a small few to make high profits at the expense of the majority doing the right thing,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.
As part of its six-point plan, he said a Shorten Labor Government would:
Establish an independent Inspector-General of Animal Welfare and Live Animal Exports
Labor would provide $1 million a year to establish the Inspector-General of Animal Welfare as an independent statutory position operating within the Department of Agriculture,” Mr Ftizgibbon said. The Inspector-General will be responsible for advising on the protection of animals in all Commonwealth-regulated activities and would report directly to the Minister of the day on issues concerning live export, animal welfare standards and guidelines. The Inspector-General would also work with the states and territories to establish an independent Office of Animal Welfare to oversee animal protection and welfare activities nationally.
Re-establish state and territory cooperation on animal welfare matters
Under the previous Labor Government, the Commonwealth, States and Territories cooperated on animal welfare and primary industry issues through a range of official forums which had since been abolished by the Coalition Government, Mr Fitzgibbon said. Labor would re-establish state and territory cooperation to ensure animal welfare matters receive the consistent national approach they deserve.
Renew the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy
Labor committed to working with state and territory governments, industry and animal welfare groups to update and renew the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy for the coming decade. “We will draw on the best available research and evidence to develop a strategy that confirms Australia as a leader in our region for the care and protection of animals,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.
Review the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS)
A Shorten Labor Government would conduct a top-to-bottom review of the ESCAS system to ensure it was working as effectively and efficiently as possible, he said.
Provide more transparency and accountability
Under Labor, the Minister for Agriculture would provide quarterly reports to the Parliament on new and emerging live export markets; the number of head exported; any allegations of breaches of animal welfare standards and investigations undertaken; and any sanctions or other action taken for breaches of Australia’s animal welfare standards.
Labor re-affirmed its pledge to immediately ban the northern summer live sheep trade and propose a plan which would phase out the live sheep trade within five years.
“The only way to ensure scientific animal welfare standards are met, community expectations on animal welfare are met and for certainty to be provided for our farmers is to ban the northern summer live sheep export trade and to implement an orderly phase out over a five year period,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.
“In delivering our plan to reinstate national federal leadership and to better protect animal welfare, Labor will work with state and territory governments and stakeholders across primary industry to ensure these policies protect our international reputation and build competitiveness in export markets,” he said.
“Raising the bar on animal welfare will ensure our agricultural producers can continue to expand into the growing high value premium consumer markets in Asia and beyond, building on Australia’s reputation as a provider of clean, green, safe, high quality and ethically-produced products.”
Source: Australian Labor Party
So it looks like the Labor Party is spending a lot of money trying to stay sitting on the fence. If all this money was to go towards transitioning farmers away from live export and developing frozen meat markets or better still emergent crop markets then we could finally see some real commit from them.
When will the gov cover the costs of inspections the same as our overseas competitors do
More unnecessary red tape. This I presume comes from from wwf and other similiar groups whose main purpose in life appears to be the abolition of food production in Australia and the closing down of any agricultural pursuit. Labor has already said that the draconian. management laws in qld. will be implemented across the country so where do they think the cleared land for the expansion of agricultural production is going to take place? Where is the consistency of policy here?
Can someone ask the Spokesman.
1 – At what cost does another layer of Government, both Federal and State, as stated, come to the Food Industry in Australia.
2 – His thoughts on how this will make Auatralia more competitive in the World Market.
We await his reply.
Would they consider a 6 point plan for farmer welfare?
One of the most dangerous occupations!
Or are animals more important?
Never heard so mu h about nothing.
How many people will labour employ to do nothing and what is the cost to farmers struggling already.
The Last time the Labor government tried putting a livestock agenda together. Julia Gillard Closed the Beef Live export industry. Crippling the industry including leaving cattle stranded at ports plus livestock logistics. Many in our industry hit the wall.
All on the say so of Animals Australia with questionable video footage, proudly supported by the Labor Party
For all or any shortcomings Barnaby Joyce might have. The National Party under Barnaby fixed the LiveX and this market.
Regardless of what we may think of Barnaby, he with the Nationals has been the Best Agriculture minister in the last 25 years.
What has Labor Ever Done for our industry. Except tax us to the hilt, and cause mayhem ?
Animal welfare is a state issue, not a federal one.
I could ask for evidence to be provided showing where Australia has a bad reputation on the world stage in regards to animal welfare, but I already know it doesn’t exist.
The well used excuse “to remain competitive” may have fooled us in the 2000’s, but it is wearing a bit thin now.
How is Joel Fitzgibbon intending to market the surplus sheep that will not be allowed to travel in the summer time? When he institutes his ban in five years time, how does he intend to market even greater numbers of surplus sheep. The cost of slaughter in Australia will make that avenue for those numbers unviable. This is the same man who stated when in Western Qld not so long ago, when asked about the construction of more dams, stated “dams are so 19th century”! Never mind that he, and the great majority of Australians, all get their water from dams. Sydney, Brisbane (and Canberra) come to mind immediately.