Senate debates

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


Rural Affairs and Transport References Committee; Report

5:42 pm

Photo of Judith AdamsJudith Adams (WA, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

I rise also to say how much I appreciated the way people came forward to our inquiry. It was probably one of the most practical, hands-on inquiries, to follow on from what Senator Nash said. Having been a live sheep exporter for 38 years, I certainly understand how those people in the north felt. None of us liked what we saw on Four Corners. That was absolutely dreadful. I think it was an ill wind that has probably done a lot of good in educating the general community. I know that these bills were to stop the export trade forever, but thank goodness the committee came to the conclusion that it does not recommend that either of these bills be passed. That was the consensus of our committee.

To go to Senator Nash's point about the process that was used, it was an utter disaster. Once again, there was no understanding of how this industry works. I feel very sorry for all the people involved. Some of them will never recover; others will. But it has been such a hard hit for all of them—for the pastoralists, the shipping people, the musterers and the hay exporters, who are mainly from the area I come from, the southern area of Western Australia. It has just been so difficult for those men and women and their families trying to make ends meet after droughts, and then they were hit with a decision that was really nothing to do with them. And the way it was done too was hard—you just cannot cut off an industry like this. If that happened in the city, if something was closed down and the gates were locked and you could not go to work the next day, you can imagine what would happen. We had so many people saying, 'We can have abattoirs up in the north again.' I worked in the north years ago and the abattoirs were all closing down. They could not get manpower and the abattoirs were not suitable for what was being bred. Now we have specific cattle that are bred for the Indonesian market and people are doing a great job with the blood lines they are putting through. I think they should be given a chance to get on with what they are really good at and I wish them well in their endeavours.


No comments