World News 04/04/2014

Greens launch fresh attack on Australian agricultural competitiveness

Agricultural competitiveness in Australia has again come under attack from the Green's underhanded tactics seeking to prevent the resumption of live animal exports to Egypt, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said today.

Minister Joyce said a disallowance motion to be introduced into the Senate by Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon seeks to prevent the resumption of live animal exports to Egypt, which if successful, would have a significant impact on livestock producers, particularly in Western Australia.

"The government's agenda is crystal clear, we are about boosting Australia's agricultural competitiveness and increasing returns at the farmgate and one fundamental way of achieving that is opening up and building on our trade relationships," Minister Joyce said.

The resumption of trade with Egypt is another step in that process following the reopening of trade to Bahrain and significant increases in exports to countries such as Indonesia, following the confirmation of second quarter permits to that market for around 273,000 head of cattle.

"By comparison the Greens agenda seeks to ultimately end the production of red meat in this country starting with attempting to end the live export trade," Minister Joyce said.

"On top of moving to economically cripple producers with this latest move, particularly those in WA, the Greens also seek to deprive our export partners of access to some of the cleanest, greenest high quality protein in the world," Minister Joyce said.

Following a visit to the loading of the livestock carrier MV Al-Shuwaikh in Fremantle yesterday, Minister Joyce highlighted that the agricultural sector in Australia has nothing to be ashamed of and that neither the government, or producers will be held to ransom by the Greens and their extremist backers any longer.

"Australia produces and exports livestock according to animal welfare and production standards which are unparalleled by any other country. This is delivered through many assurance processes including our commitment to international animal welfare standards and the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS)," Minister Joyce said.

The resumption of the trade into the Egyptian market signals a particular boost for livestock producers in Western Australia, who traditionally supplied large numbers of sheep to the market, but have not done so for eight years.

"The government will strongly oppose this latest attack on Australian livestock producers by the Greens and stand behind our commitment to boosting the competitiveness of agricultural production," Minister Joyce said.

di S. C.