Repair cattle trade with all possible speed: ALTA


Transport industry call comes as uncertainty and concern rises in the supply chain

By Rob McKay | June 9, 2011

The Australian Livestock Transport Association (ALTA) has called for action to repair the Indonesian cattle trade to be accelerated.

With the unintended consequences of the temporary ban on live cattle exports to Indonesia becoming apparent and an admission from Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) of long-term issues that have not been overcome, pressure is growing on those that oversee the trade - not least from transport.

"Everyone in business knows, if your customers and suppliers don’t trust you, you aren’t going to last very long," ALTA Executive Director Philip Halton says.

"This week, it’s pretty clear that we’ve seen Meat and Livestock Australia, and LiveCorp, lose the trust of a large part of the Australian community.

"Even more worryingly, the Australian Meat Industry Council has told us that sales of red meat in Australia fell by up to 15 percent last week.

"It seems that what has been revealed about Indonesia was seriously affecting consumer confidence in the rest of the meat and livestock industry here inside Australia.

"If that was allowed to continue, it would have become a threat to every livestock producer and all of our members – regardless of whether they are involved in live exports or not.

"It’s hard to see how this threat to consumer confidence could have been quickly ended by anything other than a temporary ban on live exports to Indonesia.

"It’s noteworthy that MLA and LiveCorp have publicly said that they understand and accept the decision.

"Now that this temporary ban is in place, the real work has to begin.

"It’s clear that the community expects the live export industry to meet proper animal welfare standards across the entire international supply chain.

"The exporters need to resolve this very quickly so that the disruption to Australian businesses is kept to a minimum."

The need for speed has also been taken up by Western Australia’s Labor Party, with state opposition agriculture spokesman Mick Murray highlighting welfare problems without urgent action to resume the trade.

Political pressure is also mounting on the Federal Government on the scale of any compensation, if any, might come to those affected by the ban.

"We will work with industry and the respectful thing is to do is for us to be talking with them directly." Prime Minister Julia Gillard tells ABC radio, echoing similar statements from Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig.

But neither addressed ameliorating the impact the ban will have.

Meanwhile, the uncertainty, lack of detail and lack of discernable plan for how to deal with thousands of head of cattle in transit to Indonesia is becoming plain and looks set to worsen.

The ABC has broadcast a dire warnings from the north of the country, with Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association Executive Director Luke Bowen saying the trade suspension "will produce an enormous amount of pressure on people right throughout the supply chain" and pastoralist Mike Thompson saying: "The Government have turned lives of a lot of people upside down and I'm sure there's a lotta farmers, a lotta truck drivers, a lot of infrastructure people that have got - that are in debt that are gonna be hangin' from trees in a month or two."

The Australian Livestock Transport Association (ALTA) has called for action to repair the Indonesian cattle trade to be accelerated.

With the unintended consequences of the temporary ban on live cattle exports to Indonesia becoming apparent and an admission from Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) of long-term issues that have not been overcome, pressure is growing on those that oversee the trade - not least from transport.

"Everyone in business knows, if your customers and suppliers don’t trust you, you aren’t going to last very long," ALTA Executive Director Philip Halton says.

"This week, it’s pretty clear that we’ve seen Meat and Livestock Australia, and LiveCorp, lose the trust of a large part of the Australian community.

"Even more worryingly, the Australian Meat Industry Council has told us that sales of red meat in Australia fell by up to 15 percent last week.

"It seems that what has been revealed about Indonesia was seriously affecting consumer confidence in the rest of the meat and livestock industry here inside Australia.

"If that was allowed to continue, it would have become a threat to every livestock producer and all of our members – regardless of whether they are involved in live exports or not.

"It’s hard to see how this threat to consumer confidence could have been quickly ended by anything other than a temporary ban on live exports to Indonesia.

"It’s noteworthy that MLA and LiveCorp have publicly said that they understand and accept the decision.

"Now that this temporary ban is in place, the real work has to begin.

"It’s clear that the community expects the live export industry to meet proper animal welfare standards across the entire international supply chain.

"The exporters need to resolve this very quickly so that the disruption to Australian businesses is kept to a minimum."

The need for speed has also been taken up by Western Australia’s Labor Party, with state opposition agriculture spokesman Mick Murray highlighting welfare problems without urgent action to resume the trade.

Political pressure is also mounting on the Federal Government on the scale of any compensation, if any, might come to those affected by the ban.

"We will work with industry and the respectful thing is to do is for us to be talking with them directly." Prime Minister Julia Gillard tells ABC radio, echoing similar statements from Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig.

But neither have addressed the impact the ban will have

Meanwhile, the uncertainty, lack of detail and lack of discernable plan for how to deal with thousands of head of cattle in transit to Indonesia is becoming plain and looks set to worsen.

The ABC has broadcast a dire warnings from the north of the country, with Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association Executive Ditrector Luke Bowen saying the trade suspension "will produce an enormous amount of pressure on people right throughout the supply chain" and pastoralist Mike Thompson saying: "The Government have turned lives of a lot of people upside down and I'm sure there's a lotta farmers, a lotta truck drivers, a lot of infrastructure people that have got - that are in debt that are gonna be hangin' from trees in a month or two."

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