After a case lasting six years, decision on live export ban today

After a case lasting six years, decision on live export ban today

Live Export
NT pastoralists were shocked by the sudden decision to suspend live exports.

NT pastoralists were shocked by the sudden decision to suspend live exports.

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The Federal Court will hand down its decision in the class action resulting from the controversial 2011 live export ban this morning.

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The Federal Court will hand down its decision in the class action resulting from the controversial 2011 live export ban this morning.

Members of the Northern Territory Cattleman's Association will be meeting in Darwin this morning to watch the verdict being aired.

In 2011, the Federal Government overnight suspended all live cattle exports to Indonesia after the airing of an ABC television program which exposed animal cruelty in overseas abattoirs.

The suspension of the trade hit NT pastoralists hard.

The action has sought $600 million in compensation from the Federal Government.

The class action is being led by the Brett Cattle Company against the Commonwealth and the then Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig.

The Brett Cattle Company is now represented by Hamish Brett, the operators Waterloo Station about 500km south west of Katherine.

According to various farming groups including the National Farmers Federation and the NT Cattlemen's Association, the case has been before the court for six years and the final judgement will be handed down, after 18 months of deliberation by Justice Rares.

Former federal Labor Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig.

Former federal Labor Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig.

Nine years ago the then Federal Minister for Agriculture Senator Joe Ludwig, acting on behalf of the Government, shut down the live cattle export trade into Indonesia overnight, crippling an industry and the livelihoods of families and communities across Northern Australia and Indonesia, the farm groups said.

An ABC program which aired on May 30, 2011 featured animal welfare abuses in some Indonesian abattoirs processing Australian cattle.

The industry was shut down through the first export control order on June 2 and sealed with a final and devastating export control order on June 7, 2011. The trade was banned and lives changed forever, the groups said.

The northern cattle industry was shut down at the very time when the sales were to pay down debt and cover costs to operate.

The impact of the shutdown affected transport companies, vets, livestock agents and associated careers, contractors and local businesses who were all gearing up for the season and many never recovered, the farm groups said.

Tracey Hayes, the class action facilitator, former NTCA chief executive and CLP hopeful, has acknowledged the tireless work of so many in bringing this case to its conclusion.

"June 2, nine years ago, changed everything we had accepted as fair," Ms Hayes said

"We truly hope that June 2, 2020 will forever be a warning to government that political populism and knee jerk decisions are not acceptable and that legal and just compensation is delivered to those impacted across the supply chain."

"Win or lose the northern cattle industry is seeking closure. These events have changed the way the industry operates with substantial and constant improvements in animal welfare in an environment where the threat to the 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in the Territory alone, and thousands of jobs in Indonesia is ever present."

The story After a case lasting six years, decision on live export ban today first appeared on Katherine Times.

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