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Proposed NT Abattoir Creating Jobs And Ending Live Exports

April 3rd 2012 01:51
black angus beef live cattle exports
The Australian Greens have backed calls by Australia’s largest cattle company for the Gillard government to provide transport infrastructure to support a proposed new Darwin abbatoir, saying it will create new jobs, relieve animal cruelty and help end live exports.

“The Gillard government should get behind a new Darwin abattoir proposed by the Australian Agricultural Company which is estimated to create 270 jobs,” Greens Senator and animal welfare spokesperson Lee Rhiannon said.

“By growing the Australian meat processing industry we can create an alternative to live exports as well as thousands of jobs,” she said.
Proposed Northern Territory Abattoir live exports
Image courtesy of AAco

Chief executive of Australian Agricultural Company, David Farley, has questioned the Gillard government's priorities in handing $215 million to General Motors Holden a fortnight ago and how federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig and Trade Minister Craig Emerson could last week find $20 million of taxpayer funds to help the Indonesian government build its beef industry, yet not back the growth and future security of the northern Australian cattle industry.

RSPCA Australia CEO, Heather Neil, has also weighed in with support for the proposed abattoir.

She said the RSPCA sees Australian Agricultural Company’s proposed facility as an important infrastructure project that will improve the welfare of cattle by effectively reducing the distance travelled for thousands of cattle each year.
Australian cattle destined for live export
Currently, cattle in the Northern Territory are being transported up to 3000km over several days in hot conditions to processing facilities nearer to Townsville, Brisbane or southern WA.

“The welfare of cattle will be improved if they are slaughtered as close to the point of production as possible,” she said.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data tracks the decline in the number of meat processing jobs in Australia, from between 40,000 to 48,000 workers in the 1970s to around 32,000 workers in 2009. There were 475 abattoirs in Australia at the end of the 1970s, dropping to 315 abattoirs by 1995/96.

“The Greens will continue our campaign to ban live animal exports which would not only end the cruel suffering of animals, but see abattoirs re-opened, especially in northern Australia,” Senator Rhiannon said.

“A 2010 report commissioned by Australia’s leading meat processors - Teys Bros, Swift Australia and Nippon Meat Packers Australia - into the future of the Queensland Beef Industry and the impact of live cattle exports reached damning conclusions,’ she said.

“The report found that live cattle exports are threatening to destroy $3.5 billion worth of assets, $5 billion in turnover and 36,000 jobs.”

“The increased live export of Queensland cattle to Indonesia also meant lost processing opportunities in Queensland, according to the report,” Senator Rhiannon concluded.

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