MINISTER for agriculture David Littleproud signed a regulation this week that addresses the threat of a court injunction stopping live exports ships from leaving ports.
The concern was an activist group could lodge a court injunction against the independent regulator of live exports, the Australian Department of Agriculture.
With the new regulation, the opportunity to lodge an injunction against a live export shipment will now be brought forward to when the regulator approves an exporter’s intent to send an export ship. Some had said an injunction against the regulator could see sheep stuck on a ship.
Mr Littleproud said while he didn’t believe the injunction issue was a serious barrier to an exporter genuine about sending a ship, the Australian Livestock Exporters Council (ALEC) had raised the issue and he thought it important to remove the perceived barrier to the trade.
“Now it’s the turn of ALEC members to act. They have always said they’re the best in the world. They’ve said they can export sheep to the Middle East through the northern summer without incident and now it’s time to show us,” the minister said.
“There’s been a coordinated campaign by some to try to force the government to roll back animal welfare requirements by blaming it for the fact that no ships have left since a big exporter was suspended and by attacking the McCarthy Review.”
Mr Littleproud said some had suggested the stocking density reduction mandated in the review made the trade unviable, despite the fact that Emanuel was ready to export before its licence was suspended by the independent regulator.
“There will be no compromise on animal welfare; the trade is open and will remain so,” Mr Littleproud said.
“Exporters say they can do this and do it right. Now is the time to prove it.”