Live ex­port trade moves

Pilbara News - - News - Nick But­terly

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment will es­tab­lish an in­de­pen­dent in­spec­tor-gen­eral 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 vowed to clean up the cul­ture in­side the bu­reau­cracy to take a tougher stance against rogue op­er­a­tors.

The so-called 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. The re­port de­tailed Mr Joyce, dur­ing his time as agri­cul­ture min­is­ter, abol­ished depart­ment an­i­mal wel­fare units.

It is un­der­stood some live ex­porters protested against the wa­ter­ing down of the depart­ment’s polic­ing of an­i­mal wel­fare stan­dards.

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

In Au­gust, the Agri­cul­ture Depart­ment stripped the ex­port li­cence from Perth­based com­pany Emanuel Ex­ports amid out­rage over vi­sion re­leased by ac­tivists show­ing an­i­mals dy­ing in ex­treme con­di­tions aboard ves­sels.

State Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Alan­nah MacTier­nan said the re­port vin­di­cated the State’s de­ci­sion to in­ter­vene in the an­i­mal wel­fare space.

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.

Live ex­porter Wel­lard warned that the Gov­ern­ment risked “reg­u­lat­ing for the low­est com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor”, com­plain­ing changes would cre­ate more bu­reau­cracy and raise costs for com­pa­nies.

Sheep bound for ex­port.

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