New England Greens candidate Mercurius Goldstein says livestock industry jobs will continue to be lost to the region while both Barnaby Joyce and Tony Windsor continue to support the live export trade.
“The Greens have consistently supported the local livestock industry over live exports. Reports of up to 100 job losses at Inverell now confirm the need for all of us to work out how we will support local livestock and local jobs.”
“This is an urgent matter for New England families that are now without an income, while their jobs have been shipped offshore in a trade that enjoys the support of both Barnaby Joyce and Tony Windsor.”
Responding to criticism of the Greens position, Goldstein said it is livestock industry representatives themselves, not politicians, who are best placed to solve the industry’s woes.
“I can confirm that neither I nor the Greens are seeking to direct the livestock industry, but rather to support the industry’s own calls for a legislated, producer-owned body that can engage with government and other parties such as the transportation industry and meat workers to solve supply chain issues together.
“This is yet another urgent industry matter on which Barnaby Joyce has failed to act as Minister for Agriculture.
“Supporters of the status quo on live exports often do a disservice to Australian industry by suggesting that we are somehow incapable in the domestic market of making a product that meets the exacting demands of buyers in the region.
“But I don’t accept that support for exporters requires selling our domestic producers short.”
Greens Senator for NSW Lee Rhiannon said, “We are very concerned to hear that up to 100 meat workers at Inverell have lost their jobs. We are calling on their employer to guarantee that these workers will not be replaced by overseas visa workers.
“The Greens are committed to working with industry groups, unions, farmers and governments towards a fair transition from the live export industry to the domestic meat processing industry.
“The Greens have announced our plan for the expansion of the domestic meat processing market.
“Meat processing in regional areas can be a driver of considerable jobs growth with the right support,” Senator Rhiannon said.