MLA snubs minister, won't release funds

THE deadline for Meat and Livestock Australia to release funds to compensate cattle producers affected by the live export ban is tomorrow.

Federal Minister for Agriculture Joe Ludwig had written to the MLA on Tuesday, asking them to release funds from a “contingency account” the MLA holds.

An MLA spokeswoman said the group was granting no media interviews this week, but released a statement, which said “MLA has declined the government's request for contingency funds – the industry's priority is to direct available resources into implementing urgent measures in Indonesia to assure the welfare of Australian cattle and give government the confidence to reopen the trade.

“Reinstating this trade under an accredited supply chain is the most effective means to provide financial security to cattle producers and businesses across northern Australia.”

But the Federal Government and MLA remain at loggerheads over the issue, while northern cattle producers and the wider livestock industry wait.

Minister Ludwig also announced this week the investigator of the live export supply chain will be the former ambassador to Indonesia, Bill Farmer.

The MLA released a written statement: “MLA remains focussed on a resumption of the live cattle trade with Indonesia. That is what the industry wants.”

Read a special report on live exports, tomorrow in the Rural Weekly.



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