THE live cattle export industry is again under pressure following the Queensland Labor Party Conference held in Brisbane on the weekend.
A motion moved by party delegates has called on Labor’s Queensland branch to apply pressure to the Federal Government with the ultimate aim of “transition away” animal live exports by 2030.
LNP Opposition agriculture spokesman Tony Perrett said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk needed to clarify Labor’s position.
“It’s time for the Premier to put an end to Labor’s toing and froing on live exports and get in behind our farmers and support the sustainable and viable Queensland industry,” Mr Perrett said.
“Any ban on the whole industry would unfairly punish those exporters and farmers who have done no wrong – and in turn lead to a repeat of the devastation seen in 2011.
“The Liberal National Party supports actions to sustain a livestock export trade in Queensland but expects exporters to continue to work hard at meeting their animal welfare responsibilities.”
The northern cattle industry was devastated following Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig’s ban on live exports to Indonesia in June 2011. That ban followed damning video evidence of animal cruelty in Indonesian abattoirs. Following the ban, industry developed the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System, which regulates animal welfare even when Australian animals are in other countries.
The Brisbane conference motion flies in the face of comments Ms Palaszczuk made in May, when she said the Queensland government was a strong supporter of live exports.
“It has been the Queensland Government’s stated position that an active and competitive cattle market benefits all members of the beef supply chain,” Ms Palaszczuk said, in answer to a question on notice from LNP Leader Deb Frecklington. “Live cattle exports are an important market option for Queensland producers, particularly in the north.”
Mr Perrett said he was concerned that Labor Agriculture Minister Mark Furner was listening to his party’s left faction, rather than Queensland farmers.
“We know that Minister Furner has form when it came to banning live exports,” Mr Perrett said. “He was callously complicit as Senator for Queensland in Labor’s disastrous 2011 live export ban.”
It is understood Labor will head the next federal election promising a ban on live sheep exports within two years.