Minister slams department

By Rodney Woods

Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has ripped into his own department over live exports as his Victorian counterpart called for the phasing out of the industry.

Mr Littleproud was speaking in Shepparton last Wednesday and said he was not afraid to criticise the department.

‘‘If they’re doing the wrong thing I will call them out on it,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ve just released the Moss Review which has basically shone a light on some poor practices within the department; I’m not afraid to do that, they’re here to serve you.

‘‘They’re here to serve the Australian people and if they don’t do that properly, I’m here to put a blowtorch on them.

‘‘That’s what they’re expected to do and what they’re paid to do.’’

The Moss Review into the department’s handling of the live export trade put forward 31 recommendations, which will see the industry reset to make it more sustainable and an independent inspector-general of live animal exports will oversee the department in its role as regulator.

On the same day, Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford admitted she was in favour of phasing out the industry all together, agreeing with her federal Labor colleagues.

‘‘Our view is that the live export of sheep needs to be phased out,’’ Ms Pulford said.

‘‘Personally, I’m supportive of the approach that Federal Labor has taken to this issue.

‘‘I know that there were members of the Federal Government, who until they were promoted in the last round of chaos, were of the view that the trade should be stopped.

‘‘They then changed their mind, no prizes for guessing why, but our focus needs to be on high quality, high value product for export.

‘‘I’d rather see more processing here in Australia,’’ she said.

In other live export news, an independent Technical Advisory Committee has released a draft report into improving the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock, which has been opened for public feedback.

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