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Wednesday, 13 November 2013
Page: 155

Live Animal Exports

Mr ENTSCH (Leichhardt) (14:51): My question is to the Minister for Agriculture. Is the minister aware of the fact that livestock cattle exporters in my electorate were severely compromised by the sudden ban on live exports in 2011? What action is the minister taking to deliver a sustainable livestock export trade that increases economic returns to farmers and exporters in the long term?

Mr JOYCE (New EnglandMinister for Agriculture and Deputy Leader of The Nationals) (14:52): I would like to thank the honourable member for Leichhardt for the question. Before I start, Madam Speaker, I would have to say that you are the best Speaker that I have ever experienced. In fact, you are without comparison.

The SPEAKER: I do not think you have been here before!

Mr JOYCE: It is not only the member for Leichhardt who would have an interest in this; also the former member for Durack, Barry Haase, in the gallery, would have an immense interest in this, and so would the member for Kennedy, if he were here. This issue really personified what the former government, the Labor government, was about. It was a sad day indeed when we woke up and found out that the country was not actually being run by the Labor government; it was being run by Four Corners—when we found out that one of our closest trading relationships, one of our most important partnerships, had been basically taken through the mud by reason of the rash and irrational actions of a government that just could not come to grips with the hard decisions.

Ladies and gentlemen, in the gallery, and Madam Speaker, it is very important that we understand that, from the moment the opportunity came to assist this industry, the coalition put their shoulder to the wheel—going to Richmond and actually meeting the people who were part of this fiasco that had been delivered to them not by drought but by the Labor government. We had to do what we could within our power to try and assist.

Might I also note that, since we have been in for the short duration of this coalition government, the Prime Minister, the Minister for Trade and Investment and the Minister for Foreign Affairs have been to Indonesia, and in this quarter we will more than double the number of cattle going to Indonesia. We will stand by this industry. In fact, we hope it grows, we hope it increases, because we stand by the return to the farm gate that this industry represents. We will be a responsible government. We will be a government that is not guided by Four Cornersbut is guided by the capacity to act diligently. I note that in the future we will also, within my department, take a delegation to Indonesia so that we can build on this relationship, expand this trade and show that we can bring dignity back to the people of Northern Australia and back to this industry, which is a great industry for our nation.

The SPEAKER: I welcome the minister to this chamber, and I think we enjoyed being called ladies and gentlemen today.