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Pressure To Reopen Live Export Markets Mounts

05 July 2011

AUSTRALIA - Returning from three days in Indonesia, Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Food Security John Cobb said that tens of thousands of reall people and real businesses are suffering, with no prospect of a rapid solution on the horizon.

“It is unfathomable that our government could unilaterally act this way, not talk to our trading partner and expect the trade to be resumed entirely on our terms. Labor has seriously underestimated the gravity of the crisis it has caused and the repercussions for the Australian economy.”

Mr Cobb and fellow Nationals Senator for the Northern Territory, Nigel Scullion, went to Indonesia over the weekend to establish the facts and get first-hand understanding of the impediment to getting the live trade back up and running.

“The ban will not solve the animal welfare issues. It will not save our cattle, our cattle industry is in chaos, allied businesses like truckies and station communities are crumbling. It is disastrous for Australia and the Indonesians know it.

“The only way to fix this mess is to resume the live export immediately and, as we’ve been saving for four weeks now, the Indonesian and Australian industries can get that done straight away while complying with international standards.

“Prime Minister Gillard and her Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd must get on a plane to Jakarta and assure them of the respect that Australia has for our most important neighbour.

“The ban needs to be lifted immediately so that Indonesia can then look at issuing import permits and Australian export permits to those we know can do the right thing. This must be done before the onset of the Australian wet season come October, otherwise our cattle will be stranded until the New Year.

“I have spoken to Indonesian and Australian companies and they are committed to getting the trade back up and running now, doing it entirely by international slaughter standards and with the NLIS tracking system.

“The Indonesian’s are stunned and offended by the Australian government’s reaction to ban an entire industry for the faults of a few, meanwhile penalising those abattoirs that have been doing the right thing all along.

“We now have a social, economic, environmental and animal welfare crisis across northern Australia, which is engulfing other parts of the country.

“If the Department of Agriculture did not inform Minister Ludwig of the disaster for Australia resulting from the blanket ban, heads should roll. If Minister Ludwig failed to advise the Prime Minister, he should be sacked. If Julia Gillard ignored that advice - she must go.”

TheCattleSite News Desk



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