In­de­pen­dent live ex­port scru­tiny

Harvey-Waroona Reporter - - NEWS - Nick But­terly

The Fed­eral Govern­ment will es­tab­lish an in­de­pen­dent in­spec­tor­gen­eral of live ex­ports af­ter a damn­ing re­port blasted the Agri­cul­ture De­part­ment’s re­peated fail­ures to po­lice the in­dus­try.

The Govern­ment has also promised to cre­ate an an­i­mal wel­fare branch in the de­part­ment and promised to clean up the cul­ture in­side the bu­reau­cracy to take a tougher stance against rogue op­er­a­tors.

The Moss re­port, which was com­mis­sioned in the wake of the Awassi Ex­press scan­dal, sug­gested that cuts in­tro­duced by for­mer Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Barn­aby Joyce weak­ened the de­part­ment’s en­force­ment regime — set­ting the scene for a se­ries of live ex­port in­ci­dents.

Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter David Lit­tleproud promised to ac­cept all rec­om­men­da­tions from the re­view, say­ing he was de­ter­mined to clean up the in­dus­try and en­sure it was able to con­tinue.

The plan for an in­de­pen­dent in­spec­tor gen­eral had first been put for­ward by La­bor but Mr Lit­tleproud said he did not care who had thought of the idea.

“Com­pli­ance and reg­u­la­tion should not be a bu­reau­cratic tick box — to change cul­ture, the light needs to be shone on to an­i­mal wel­fare and the threat of be­ing caught and pu­n­ished needs to be real,” he said.

The re­port also called for a prin­ci­pal reg­u­la­tory of­fi­cer to be es­tab­lished in the de­part­ment and said vets work­ing on live ex­port ships should de­clare con­flicts of in­ter­est.

The in­quiry said a full costre­cov­ery model should be levied on the in­dus­try for the changes, likely mean­ing live ex­porters would be hit with mil­lions of dol­lars in ex­tra costs.

The re­port de­tailed that Mr Joyce, dur­ing his time as agri­cul­ture min­is­ter, abol­ished de­part­ment an­i­mal wel­fare units as part of the Ab­bott govern­ment’s “red tape” and dereg­u­la­tion agenda.

It is un­der­stood some live ex­porters protested against the wa­ter­ing down of the de­part­ment’s polic­ing of an­i­mal wel­fare stan­dards un­der Mr Joyce, cau­tion­ing that it would lead to ma­jor live ex­port scan­dals.

The Govern­ment has al­ready put new stock­ing den­sity re­stric­tions on voyages to the Mid­dle East in sum­mer months and has placed in­de­pen­dent ob­servers aboard ves­sels to re­port on con­di­tions.

The Na­tional Farm­ers’ Fed­er­a­tion said the changes would im­prove the reg­u­la­tor’s ca­pa­bil­ity and cul­ture and ul­ti­mately in­crease con­fi­dence in the reg­u­la­tion of live ex­ports.

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