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Participants in Australia’s multi-billion-dollar live cattle export trade have been assured moves by the Morrison Government to levy compliance costs on them are nowhere near as expensive as they first thought.
At a recent Live Export Forum in Charters Towers, Agriculture Minister David Littleproud told about 100 of the district’s graziers that his department estimated the new cost-recovery model would add $4 or $5 a head.
This figure is far less than the rumoured $16-$20 a head some graziers had feared.
Joined on stage by North Queensland-based Senator, Susan McDonald, Mr Littleproud also promised the crowd the Morrison Government will never ban live export.
Senator McDonald – herself from a grazing family near Cloncurry – said the $4-$5 a head cost estimate would be a huge relief for all involved in the industry.
Now living in Townsville, which last year assumed the mantle of Australia’s busiest live export facility, she described the cost projections as a “big win” for one of Australia’s most important and well-managed industries.
“Australia’s animal welfare standards are the best in the world – bar none – and we export these standards to our destination countries,” she said.
“But this level of regulation comes at a cost that is currently being borne by taxpayers and this is changing.
“The recent announcement by Minister Littleproud will be a relief for graziers and ensure the industry’s future.”
Senator McDonald said demand for Australia’s quality cattle was growing in countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia that do not have widespread refrigeration.
She added that the demand for beef was so great that these countries would accept cattle from other exporters with little to no regard for animal welfare.
“Sending frozen boxed meat to developing countries isn’t an option, they need to process live animals locally, and Australia is the only exporter that insists on animal welfare standards from our customers and trains them how to achieve these standards,” she said.
“If opponents of live export succeed in shutting down the Australian industry, they are in effect greenlighting the expansion of live export from other countries with far fewer welfare regulations.
“There is no one involved in the Australian sector who doesn’t place a high value on the humane treatment of our animals, especially in the knowledge they are under so much scrutiny from government, their own industry and the general public.”
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