Live export ban lifted as exporters receive Government support

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 11th August 2011

The Australian live cattle export industry will receive Australian Government assistance to recover from the temporary suspension of live cattle to Indonesia.

Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, said that Northern Australian pastoralists affected by the suspension will be able to access additional working capital loans of up to $300,000 with subsidized interest rates.

Pastoralists will also be eligible for grants of up to $5,500 for financial advice and training.

“While the trade to Indonesia has reopened, with the first shipment of cattle due to depart this week, I know businesses in the north are still feeling the impacts and will need additional support as the trade re-establishes,” said Minister Ludwig.

“When these measures are combined with the assistance packages that are already available, there is almost $100 million that is able to be injected into the market.

“This next phase of support is targeted at businesses and support industries that rely on the live export trade to Indonesia.”

Service industries affected by the ban will also receive assistance under the scheme.

“I’m pleased to announce that in partnership with the state and territory governments we will offer a subsidised interest rate on new loans of up to $300,000 for two years to farm and service industry businesses like transporters, heli-musterers and agents involved in the live export trade,” said Senator Ludwig.

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has welcomed Minister Ludwig’s announcement.

“Today’s announcement brings the total amount of funds available for cattle producers to almost $100 million, which will go a long way to help those farmers and families who rely on this trade for their livelihoods – the producers, truck drivers, contractors, small businesses and many Indigenous Australians,” said NFF President Jock Laurie.

“It will be a slow process to recovery, but ensuring the trade can continue by working with Government to improve animal welfare standards is of the utmost importance to the industry.”

Minister Ludwig confirmed that the live cattle trade with Indonesia has reopened and that the first the first shipment of cattle is due to depart this week.

Meanwhile, a senate inquiry into animal welfare in the live export industry is currently underway.

The latest announcement by the Australian Government comes after considerable criticism by industry of the original decision to impose the ban.