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Wednesday, 13 February 2013
Page: 1180

Mrs GRIGGS (Solomon) (13:48): Today the first shipment of live buffalo since the new animal welfare requirements came into force will leave Darwin. This is a huge relief for the entire Territory community who have been crippled by the Gillard Labor government's 2011 knee-jerk reaction to ban live exports. This decision damaged our $1 billion livestock industry, weakened industry confidence within the Territory and threatened Territory jobs. I can only imagine the thousands of dollars lost by Territory cattle farmers, the uncertainty they experienced during the ban, the fear they endured while wondering if their livelihoods would be destroyed forever and the pain they suffered while getting their industry back on track.

There are some interesting facts coming out of the Senate estimates hearings, particularly that the Labor government gifted $20 million to the Indonesian cattle industry, which has not been spent—no new projects started at all—while the government only allocated $12.7 million to Australian industry. This demonstrates a blatant lack of understanding this government has for our farmers and the industry. The lack of assistance for our livestock industry—particularly, not doing enough to support the industry open new markets—has allowed overseas competitors to reap the benefits and cripple our local market.

The coalition supports the $1 billion live export industry and, given the opportunity, will work with farmers to address the continuing destructive impact of the 2011 live cattle export ban.