In a statement to Lateline last night, Australian company International Livestock Export said that they have "no objection if the government wants to pay for them", "them" being the vets and stockmen who are currently paid by the exporter. They claim there is no pressure on the vets to alter mortality data.
So, if the exporters are keen, it is time for the government to change the system and have independent veterinarians, paid by the government, funded by the exporter as recommended by the AVA in their Supplementary Submission to the Farmer Review 2011. Bring it on!
It seems that people are coming to realise that our producers are relying too heavily on live export. In an article in Weekly Times Now Sam Paton, a rural property valuer at Agribusiness Valuations Australia, said that northern cattle producers were too heavily reliant on live export to Indonesia even before the 2011 suspension.
According to a 2009 Meat and Livestock Australia report, averaged debt per unit of livestock doubled over the course of a decade and returns on assets had crashed to less than 2%.
Indonesia dictates the conditions of Australia's live export trade. If they decide to refuse our stock, what then?