Restarting live exports a matter of 'urgency': WA

WA agriculture minister says restarting the live animal export trade to Indonesia is a matter or “urgency”

By Brad Gardner | June 20, 2011

Western Australia’s agriculture minister has travelled to Indonesia in the hope of restarting the live animal export trade as soon as possible.

Terry Redman left for Indonesia on June 18 for a three-day visit of supply chain facilities and to meet with Indonesian government and industry representatives.

Redman says the live export trade to Indonesia is worth about $200 million a year to the Western Australian economy and supports thousands of jobs.

The Federal Government recently banned the live export trade to Indonesia for six months in reaction to footage of animal cruelty shown on the ABC’s Four Corners program.

"The WA Government is determined to see the live cattle trade to Indonesia reopen as a matter of urgency and to ensure all animal welfare issues addressed as a matter of haste," Redman says.

He says the meetings will give him a detailed understanding of Indonesia’s efforts to ensure animal welfare and traceability requirements.

Federal Nationals leader and opposition transport spokesman Warren Truss is critical of the blanket ban. He says abattoirs that meet Australian standards should not be blacklisted.

"Those doing the right thing have been penalised. Along with those who are doing the wrong thing, those who spent money putting in place world’s best practice are being denied an opportunity to remain in business," he says.

Parliament Secretary for Agriculture Mike Kelly says the government must act carefully to ensure it puts in place measures to avoid a repeat of the footage aired on Four Corners.

"We cannot afford a repetition of this incident. We must ensure that we put in place a system that has certainty for the future of the industry and consumers," he says.

The government recently commissioned an inquiry into the live export industry.

The Greens and Tasmanian Independent Andrew Wilkie want live animal exports phased out completely

A business advisory firm, Vantage Performance, last week called for financial assistance for transport operators affected by the export ban.

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