Greens animal welfare spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said that Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has mislead farmers and the public when he expressed surprise saying he was "disappointed" over the Indonesian government's plan to cut cattle imports from Australia.
"How could Minister Joyce be surprised and disappointed when news of the Indonesian decision has been on the public record for many years," Senator Rhiannon said.
"Minister Joyce by now should have had in place the transition plan from live exports to the boxed meat trade for farmers who have relied on the Indonesian export market.
"It was widely reported during the 2014 Indonesian elections that both presidential candidates said they would like to end the nation's reliance on Australian cattle imports.
"Yet it is clear from the response of the Abbott government and Labor leader Bill Shorten, there is no transition plan to for the cattle industry, even though they have known for many years that Indonesia wants to reduce imports from Australia.
A 2012 report by ACIL Tasman states that: The Indonesian Government has a policy objective of achieving self-sufficiency in beef production. Under this policy, self-sufficiency is defined 90 per cent of domestic beef consumption produced from cattle raised in Indonesia. (http://tinyurl.com/qf3q94e)
"Mr Joyce's urgent scramble this week to find other markets to take Australian live cattle exports, demonstrates his failure to manage his portfolio.
"Since the first expose of abhorrent live export cruelty on Four Corners in 2011, the Greens have been campaigning for a move away from such exports to a chilled meat export industry in markets where there is a growing demand for this.
"Record boxed lamb shipments were sent to the Middle East in 2013 and Bahrain had at one point totally replaced Australian live sheep imports with the import of Australian chilled meat.
"Such a transition would mean Australia has more control over how animals are treated, farmers can have certainty and there would be an increase in long term jobs for regional communities.
"Opening up abattoirs across regional Australia would create thousands of jobs and help secure Australia a stronger place in the expanding international trade in processed meat.
"Instead of cheap and ineffectual political shots, Mr Shorten should be working with farmers to transition to a profitable processed meat trade," said Senator Rhiannon.
Contact - Brami Jegan 0487 350 880