June 29, 2011


Australian cattle industry agrees to compensate live exporters



The Australian cattle industry will pay US$5 million to feed and water livestock affected by the suspension of live exports to Indonesia.


However, the money will not be provided from Meat and Livestock Australia's contingency funds, as the Federal Government had requested.


Instead, the funds will come from The Board of the Cattle Disease Contingency Fund Trust (CDCF), formed by Animal Health Australia, Cattle Council, and the Australian Lot Feeders Association. Cattle owners can apply to the CDCF for money to ensure the welfare of their animals.


The money can be used to cover costs to move cattle to the nearest market, as well as feed, animal health, and biosecurity treatments.


CDCF Chair, Paul Saward, says the welfare of cattle stranded is a significant concern. "We see this decision to make funds available as the CDCF coming to the aid of the northern cattle industry," he said.


"This is a positive development. It is another important step towards resumption of this important export market, one that is critical to Australia's northern regions," he said.


The CDCF money is collected from a small proportion of the 42 cents that goes to Animal Health Australia and the National Residue Survey, out of the US$5 levy producers pay per head of cattle.


Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has welcomed the US$5 million in compensation, and says she's looking at more assistance for the industry, to be announced soon. But she will not be flying to Indonesia to negotiate on restarting the live cattle trade. She says she will be leaving it to the trade, agriculture, and foreign ministers.


Meanwhile, the Federal Agriculture Minister has held a round-table meeting with the Northern Territory cattle industry in Darwin.


Most cattle producers have already rejected the Federal Government's US$3 million compensation package for the suspension of the live trade to Indonesia, stating they simply want the live trade resumed.


The minister, Joe Ludwig, still has not nominated a date when cattle may be shipped to Indonesia again.

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