THE AUSTRALIAN government is looking for new ways to improve the monitoring and reporting of livestock welfare over the live-export supply chain under the Business Research and Innovation Initiative.

Minister for agriculture David Littleproud said applications are now open for the challenge.

“I welcome this investment in finding new technologies to improve how we regulate the live animal exports trade,” he said.

“More than 2.3 million Australian livestock are exported each year by sea and air and Australia is a world leader in ensuring health welfare standards of this livestock.

“However, maintaining and demonstrating good welfare outcomes currently places considerable regulatory burden on industry, as current monitoring and reporting is largely manual, repetitive and resource intensive.

Mr Littleproud said the inspector-general of live animal exports, Ross Carter, had already identified a need to improve how livestock is monitored and data is collected, including by using automated technology.

“This BRII challenge delivers an opportunity to do this and find effective and efficient mechanisms that meet the needs of both industry and government,” Mr Littleproud said.

“With tens of thousands of livestock to monitor, technology-based solutions will make it easier and faster to detect any animal health or welfare issues and improve how we do business. New technologies will also make it easier for our exporters to demonstrate their commitment to animal welfare.”

BRII gives opportunities to innovative small to medium enterprises with ideas to tackle national challenges, including protecting Australia from biosecurity threats and driving growth in our tourism industry.

New Zealand has recently said it would phase out exports of live animals by sea.

The NZ agriculture minister, Damien O’Connor, said the country has very limited ability to ensure the wellbeing of livestock once they leave the country by sea.