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All News Updates & Public Comment => Live Export News Updates => : Export News Tasmania December 28, 2011, 06:08:55 PM

: NT cattle exporters whinging still
: Export News Tasmania December 28, 2011, 06:08:55 PM
THE brahman cattle on Jeff Hardwick's 200ha property outside Darwin were enjoying bovine heaven this week, munching on the rich pangola grass he put down in the 1980s and has lovingly tended since.

But the brahmans' bliss should have ended by now -- they were to have been loaded on to a cattle boat, sailed over the monsoonal Timor Sea to Indonesia to be fattened, then chopped up for sale at local "wet markets".

Mr Hardwick, who was a used-car salesman in Darwin before he went into cattle trading, had done a deal with an exporter to sell the brahmans, but it fell through in one of the new uncertainties facing the live cattle trade.

The Indonesian government has nearly halved the number of import permits for Australian cattle next year to 280,000 beasts and, creating more turmoil, has yet to issue permits for the first quarter of the year.

Mr Hardwick said the company due to send a ship to pick up the cattle in Darwin had become nervous that it might have been held up in port until the problem was resolved.

"The ship has now been directed to another part of the world because the permits have not been issued," he said.

It's a common tale of woe in the Top End live cattle trade. The industry is recovering from the suspension of exports by the federal government earlier this year after the Four Corners expose of cruelty in Indonesian abattoirs.

But the legacy of the suspension, added to the Indonesian import permit problem, along with a general view the Labor government is under pressure from the Greens to shut the industry down, has hurt confidence.

According to the president of the NT Cattlemen's Association, Rohan Sullivan, cattle properties are almost impossible to sell, leading to a fall in prices and a reluctance by producers to invest. "The reduction in permits has produced a bit of a shadow over the live export trade," he said. Territorians in the live cattle trade also complain that the new system imposed by Canberra of requiring exporters to ensure good treatment of each head of cattle right to the point of slaughter is creating an immense bureaucracy with uncertain real gain.

Sid Parker, who at 86 is still exporting cattle after more than 50 years in the NT, said he believed a permanent ban might eventually be placed on live cattle exports. But "it will come from Australia, not Indonesia . . . It will be the red tape that stops it, because of the Greens. Bob Brown's got them by the short and curlies, and what he wants, that's what the government does." (
: Re: NT cattle exporters whinging still
: Export News Tasmania December 28, 2011, 06:10:26 PM
Former used car salesman? That says it all. The fact is that a cyclone was predicted for Darwin, but these people would have loaded their cattle anyway. But he's right about a permanent ban, it WILL happen.