Farmers in and around Benalla will be keen to hear about the proposed changes to live animal export regulations presently on the Federal Government’s agenda.
Federal Member for Indi Cathy McGowan said she would work with the government to ensure the proposed changes considered animal health as the primary focus.
Ms McGowan noted Thursday’s introduction into the Parliament of the Export Legislation Amendment (Livestock) Bill 2018 by Agriculture Minister David Littleproud.
It follows the introduction last Monday of a Private Member’s Bill by the Member for Farrer Sussan Ley.
‘‘Making sure animals are well looked after should be first and foremost,’’ Ms McGowan said.
‘‘Ms Ley’s Bill is not seeking an immediate ban on livestock exports.
‘‘It is seeking the phasing out of the trade over five years. It needs to be determined how this transition would work, what will happen in the interim and whether the five-year period is too long or too short.
‘‘There are a lot of good things in Ms Ley’s Bill, but there are outstanding issues and in some areas it doesn’t go far enough.
‘‘I commend Ms Ley and the member for Corangamite Sarah Henderson for their work. It is fantastic to see regional Liberal members standing up for agriculture.’’
Ms McGowan said she was in favour of the proposed ban on the summer trade.
‘‘I support the government’s proposal to increase penalties against those found to have done the wrong thing and having inspectors on ships during the transition period. This is very important,’’ she said.
‘‘I don’t believe we have gone far enough in holding to account those responsible for compromising animal health in this trade.
‘‘Some terrible things have happened on some of these ships and that needs to be acknowledged and appropriately penalised.’’