House debates

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Statements by Members

Live Animal Exports

1:48 pm

Photo of Joel FitzgibbonJoel Fitzgibbon (Hunter, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Agriculture) Share this | Hansard source

Australia's live export sector is critical to many of our producers, particularly in the north, and indeed to the Australian economy. It is a sector which has my strong support. But two issues constantly threaten broader community support. The first, of course, is the incidence of animal cruelty; and the second is the impact of security of supply on our own domestic market.

In office, Labor addressed the welfare issue by putting in place the best animal welfare system in the world. It provided sustainability for the sector. The implementation of ESCAS was tortuous; it took a pause in the trade to achieve it. Members opposite are very fond of reminding us of the pause, but they are even fonder of hiding behind the success of the scheme.

Today we have new reports of animal cruelty both inside and outside supply chains, and as usual the Deputy Prime Minister has responded through a spokesperson. The sector needs more than a minister who runs to the cameras when there is good news but hides when there is bad news. A robust response is needed to maintain and build community confidence in the sector.

On the issue of security of supply, we need a minister with a productivity agenda and a plan for the sector. Meatworkers are losing their jobs, and beef prices in our supermarkets are rising through the roof, but the minister does nothing—other than try, in this place, to claim credit for drought-induced cattle prices.


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