The Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council has welcomed the introduction of legislation to establish a Federal Inspector General for Live Animal Exports, describing the move as an important step towards driving cultural change and improved animal welfare outcomes.
Minister for Agriculture, Senator Bridget McKenzie introduced the Inspector-General of Live Animal Exports Bill 2019 into the Senate on Wednesday.
She said the position will provide a further layer of assurance and oversight over Australia’s livestock export system.
The Inspector-General will oversee the Department of Agriculture’s regulation of live exports and will increase transparency of Australia’s livestock export management system.
“This is about building an effective regulatory culture that stands the test of time,” she said.
“The Inspector-General will promote continual improvements in the regulatory practice, performance and culture of the live export regulator.
“This is another step assuring the community, trading partners and industry that the regulatory system is functioning as intended.”
The main role of the Inspector-General is to audit and review the systems and processes that underpin the department’s regulation of livestock exports.
In March 2019 Ross Carter took on the role as Interim Inspector-General, pending the passage of this legislation.
He is about to conduct the first review of monitoring and reporting on livestock export vessels.
His program of work also includes reviews of livestock export licensing and permits, Approved Arrangements, and the Exporter Supply Chain and Assurance System.
An external, independent Inspector-General of Live Animal Exports was a recommendation of the Moss Review, of which the government accepted all recommendations.
The Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council (ALEC) said the introduction of the Bill reflects clear alignment in terms of industry reform and enhancing regulatory transparency.
“An independent Inspector General of Live Animal Exports will support the industry’s commitment to improved welfare practices of exported animals,” ALEC CEO Mark Harvey-Sutton said.
“We have called for the introduction of an Inspector General to oversee independence and cultural change in our industry, for both exporters and the industry regulator.
“The livestock export industry is determined to continually achieve improvements in the industry’s sustainability and animal welfare outcomes, building on the genuine care producers, exporters and importers have for the animals in the supply chains.
“I look forward to working closely with Mr Carter. The industry stands ready to assist in any way.”
Will the new Inspector General also be inspecting the conditions and treatment of our live animals when they arrive at their destinations? Despite the so-called improvements, following on Julia Gillard’s halting of the export of cattle to Indonesia, the reports are that the cruelty continues. More effort needs to be applied in discovering what awaits these animals upon their destination and appropriate steps taken to alleviate it.