June 2, 2020
QUEENSLAND Senator, Susan McDonald has welcomed a landmark court ruling against the Gillard Labor Federal Government’s ban on live exports, and hopes the current Government accepts the decision and pays the required compensation.
“Northern Australia is our primary source of live export cattle and the ban in 2011 decimated not just the industry but all its supporting industries,” she said.
“In addition to graziers, transport companies, mechanics, suppliers and fencers just to name a few were smashed virtually overnight.
“It’s impossible to put into words the hardship people suffered as a result of this ill-thought-out kneejerk ban.
“All that live export beef flooded the domestic market, crippling prices and compounding the pain for beef producers across Australia.
“Graziers already battle the uncertainties of commodity prices and weather, so to have your own Government attack you like this was entirely unexpected and – in the words of Justice Steven Rares – was capricious and unreasonable.”
Senator McDonald, herself from a cattle farming family in North West Queensland and with years of experience in the beef sector before joining the Senate, said Australia’s live export trade was among the most heavily regulated and scrutinised in the country.
“As a result, our animal welfare standards are the highest in the world, so when Australia doesn’t supply, animals suffer as demand for meat is filled by less scrupulous exporters,” she said.
“For instance, it was recently reported that cattle travel by ship for seven days from Darwin to Asian markets, but 27 days from South America.
“If we allow opponents of live export to influence government policy, we are letting animals down and we lose our ability to be an example to other countries.
“What’s most impressive is that much of live export’s regulation and oversight has been driven from within by the industry all the way from rearing cattle, to fattening and transport both domestically and to overseas markets.
“Australia has also provided considerable assistance to countries that receive our cattle to improve their own standards.
“The Labor Government of the time showed they didn’t understand regional Australia and its industries, and sadly this lack of understanding continues today.
“I sincerely hope the Federal Government accepts the Justice’s ruling and compensates appropriately.”