Government working through live export judgement: Littleproud

Government will act quickly on live export judgement, says Littleproud

QUICK ACTION: Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud says wants the implications of the live export ban judgement, for both government and producers, worked through quickly.

QUICK ACTION: Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud says wants the implications of the live export ban judgement, for both government and producers, worked through quickly.


Federal Government talking with live export plaintiffs.


The Federal Government was still working through the implications flowing from the judgement on the live cattle export ban, Agriculture Minister David Littleproud says.

Mr Littleproud was addressing a Rural Press Club of Victoria webinar.

The Federal Court ruled former Labor Minister Joe Ludwig acted "recklessly" and committed "misfeasance in public office" in imposing the snap ban, in June 2011.

Justice Steven Rares was ruling on a class action, brought by the Brett Cattle Company, NT, which claimed the ban cost them hundreds of millions of dollars.

Mr Littleproud was asked if the government would appeal what he called was an "abhorrent" decision.

"It had ramifications for the whole industry," Mr Littleproud said.

"We had a conversation around this in Cabinet, and we are working through the implications of that judgement.

"We will probably engage, most likely in the next couple of days, with those plaintiffs, around a pathway forward."

He said he respected the amount of harm inflicted by the decision, particularly on the Brett family.

Attorney-General Christian Porter was working through the judgement.

"I think what's important to understand as well, is appreciating the wording within it because that has the implications that need to be worked through," Mr Littleproud said.

"We don't intend to this, for this to be protracted, we intend to try and address it as quickly as we can.

"But it is a complex judgment that needs to be worked through, the implications around executive government and what that would look like in the future is something that we would have to make sure that we appreciate while also understanding the needs of those plaintiffs."

Read more:

Ludwig at fault: producers win live export court case

On the barley trade, Mr Littlproud said a key lesson from the Chinese Government's decision to impose an 80 per cent tariff on imports was that exporters should avoid market concentration.

"That's a simple business principle," Mr Littleproud said.

China has imposed a 73.6 per cent tariff on barley, based on 'dumping' claims, and another 6.9 per cent penalty, based on claims that Australian farmers are subsidised to grow crops.

Mr Littleproud said he had not yet spoken to his Chinese counterpart, Han Changfu about the tariffs, or the blocking of meat exports, from four Australian abattoirs.

Read more:

Australia and China's turbulent trade relations

'Unfortunately, he hasn't been able to take my call, but, as we made it clear to Chinese officials, my phone is always on and my door is always open," he said.

He said the goverment was also working through the process over the ban on red meat exports, from four Australian abattoirs.

"There is an appeals process we are undertaking, with China,"he said

"We made it clear we are prepared to go to the World Trade Organisation, but it is important we respect the process.

"Emotion can rise, through these times, it's important you stick to the process and calmly work through it."

He said the government needed to be pragmatic, in "working through the issues.

"We'll obviously try to articulate quite clearly through the appeals process," Mr Littleproud said.

"ABAREs was able to demonstrate, only in last week, that of all the nations in the world, there is only one in the world that subisidises their farmers less than Australia, and that is New Zealand.

"We'll put the data in front of Chinese officials and work through that process and afford Chinese officials the respect we'd like to receive in return."

He said that would take time, so there was a need to open up other markets.

"We have to continue to open up those export opportunities," he said.

And Mr Littleproud again attacked supermarkets, while ruling out Federal intervention in dairy markets.

"If governments are seen to regulate the price of any commodity, then our trading partners will do exactly what the Chinese government has done on barley," he said.

"They will say we are not living up to the terms and conditions of trade agreements.

"It's dangerous, for any person, in particular politicians, to go out and ask to regulate prices."

He also said supermarkets were permeators of much of the "misery" in the dairy industry.

He accused supermarkets of "gimmicks" to attract custom from urban consumers

Supermarkets appeared to be "all caring and all-loving of dairy farmers" but had devalued the industry and didn't want to be part of the solution.

"Dairy farmers don't want charity from supermarkets; they just want a fair price."

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