Australian Meat and Live-Stock Industry Act 1997: Livestock Mortalities During Exports by Sea

Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (18:03): Anyone listening to this on the radioand I know there are a lot of people who dowill be absolutely gobsmacked about this response to livestock mortalities during exports by sea. Perhaps Senator McLucas trying to defend both her leader and the leader of the Labor Party in Queensland by talking about something that might have happened in question time might be interesting, but it has nothing to do with the matter before the chamber.

These mortalities during exports by sea highlight the great importance of the live cattle trade particularly in Northern Australia. If Senator McLucas wants to talk about Queensland, then certainly it is a very important activity in Queensland. It makes me wonder why Senator McLucas was so reticent in coming out to try to help her North Queensland cattlemen at the time that Senator Ludwig, on behalf of the Gillard government, shut down the live cattle trade to Indonesia and in so doing caused losses of jobs and ultimately losses of businesses and investment in Senator McLucas's state of Queensland and across the top of Australia where a lot of the live cattle exports originate. It is a very important industry to Queensland, and I just hope that I can rely on Senator McLucas to join with me in supporting this industry.

At Innisfail up in North Queensland where I come from there was an old abattoir at the old Teys Bros meatworks. It was recently purchased by a group of cattlemen out to the west of Cairns with the intention of taking the abattoir to the Solomon Islands, setting up a feedlot there with a local family and setting up the abattoir, and then exporting live cattle from Northern Queensland through the Port of Mourilyan and over to the Solomons. That will be great for the cattle industry in Northern Australia. It will be very relevant to the safety of animals during exports by sea, which this report refers to. It will also provide jobs and fresh food for the people of the Solomon Islands. It is a great initiative by a group of people not seeking any assistance from government but seeking to establish a new industry to provide a destination for some of the two million cattle that are operated in a line drawn from Karumba in the gulf through to Innisfail on the east coast of Queensland. It is a very exciting venture and one that still has a long way to go; there are a lot of commercial and other hurdles to address. But from what I am told, if this venture does eventuate, livestock mortalities from North Queensland to the Solomons will be very small. They are looking at the latest ways of transporting cattle safely. In fact, it will be much safer and better for the animals to be transported the relatively short distance from where they graze to the Mourilyan harbour and then from the Mourilyan harbour on a short sea voyage to the Solomons. So it is an exciting venturethe sort of thing that is envisaged in this document relating to livestock exports by sea. I seek leave to continue my remarks later.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.

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