I understand the concerns of the community on the issue of live exports and have raised it with the Minister.
The Australian Government supports the export of livestock where acceptable animal welfare conditions are maintained. It was clear that the live trade could not be trusted to safeguard the animals they sell. The only way to secure a future for Australia’s livestock export trade is to ensure animals are being treated in line with international welfare standards. The Labor Government has delivered once-in-a-generation reform to the industry.
The Government had to act, and it did. In order to restore the communities trust in this industry, we introduced strict new rules and have begun rolling out a strict new regulation in Australia's livestock export industry as part of the government's response to the independent review.
These new rules mean animals will only be exported if it can be independently shown that they will be treated at or better than international standards.
Exporters will have to publish independent audit reports which show they continue to meet these standards. These rules now apply to 75 per cent of our export market, with 99 per cent to be covered by the end of August. We are working with our trading partners to help progress the implementation and have received favourable support.
These changes fundamentally reform the way live exports work. Before these changes there were no rules to cover what happened after an animal arrives in an export market. Now exporters must ensure animals are treated at or above international standards.
It is my hope that, over time, we can shift the trade away from live exports towards “boxed meat” which is slaughtered here and exported as frozen meat. This is a good job creator as well.
Unfortunately the lack of refrigeration for the majority of Indonesian consumers means that this is not yet a viable option.
I will continue to monitor this matter and appreciate the feedback and information that has been provided by community organisations seeking improvements to this sector.
More information about government action on live exports, including details of assistance available for people affected by the suspension of trade to Indonesia, can be found at www.liveexports.gov.au