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Farmers welcome live export assistance measures

10 August 2011

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Joe Ludwig, that some $70 million in assistance will be provided to cattle producers affected by the livestock export trade suspension.

NFF President Jock Laurie said such measures are a welcome relief for farmers and small businesses struggling in the wake of the livestock export halt.

“Today’s announcement brings the total amount of funds available for cattle producers to almost $100 million, which will go a long way to help those farmers and families who rely on this trade for their livelihoods – the producers, truck drivers, contractors, small businesses and many Indigenous Australians,” Mr Laurie said.

Mr Laurie’s comments come as the first shipment of cattle to Indonesia following the suspension prepares to leave Australian shores, and as the Senate Inquiry into animal welfare in the live export industry hears of the significant impact the suspension has had on cattle producers.

“The first shipment today and the assistance package are important first steps for the cattle producers, exporters and businesses that rely on this trade. It will be a slow process to recovery, but ensuring the trade can continue by working with Government to improve animal welfare standards is of the utmost importance to the industry,” Mr Laurie said.

“Australian farmers do not condone animal cruelty: it simply has no place in our farming systems. With the Minister for Agriculture, we have developed a controlled supply chain system that ensures Australian animals exported to Indonesia only go to those abattoirs that meet internationally agreed standards – and we are working to implement similar systems in all other livestock export markets.

“We support the decision by Minister Ludwig to await the results of the Farmer review. This is the only way the Government can improve animal welfare outcomes in destinations for Australian animals without undermining the social fabric of northern Australia and negatively affecting people's lives.

“The livestock export industry is incredibly important to the people of northern Australia. Importantly, stopping the trade will not resolve the animal welfare issues as it will simply offload them onto another country. But it will devastate these communities,” Mr Laurie said.

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