The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) welcomes proceedings filed in the Federal Court late yesterday afternoon seeking compensation for Northern Territory cattle producers affected by the former government’s decision to suspend the live export trade to Indonesia in June 2011.
The northern cattle industry is a vital part of Australian agriculture, representing 50% of Northern Territory primary production as well as being a major indigenous employer.
“The decision to suspend live exports was without precedent, and devastating for cattle producers in Northern Australia,” NFF President Brent Finlay said.
“More than anything else, Australian agriculture needs certainty so that we can invest in our businesses and our futures.
“The ban in 2011 left Australia’s domestic reputation in tatters, not to mention the massive financial losses for individual cattle producers, many of whom either left the industry altogether or are still trying to repair the damage done.
“Paddocks across Northern Australia were overstocked. Cattle had to be trucked thousands of kilometres between properties, put on agistment or sold below cost to make ends meet.”
“As recently as last week, politicians on both sides of the spectrum acknowledged the regrettable nature of the decision by the former Government. And yet not a single step has been taken, either by this Government or the last, to remedy its effects on industry.
“Our member, the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association, has tried to resolve this amicably. The last thing industry needs is a costly and hard fought legal case. Unfortunately, they have hit a brick wall time and time again.
“Thanks to the support of the Australian Farmers’ Fighting Fund, our members can now demand compensation for what was a completely capricious act.
“The NFF urges the government to come to the table and restore the Northern Australian cattle industry to the position it was in before the ban. This can never happen again,” Mr Finlay said.