IN THE NEWS: On APR 11, 2018
THE Federal Government will demand an independent observer be aboard all live export ships to send daily reports to Canberra about conditions as part of efforts to clean up the industry.
Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud is also considering live export ships sailing into the extreme heat of a Middle East summer being required to have air-conditioning — a move that would place big financial burdens on the industry.
In Perth yesterday, Mr Littleproud announced a "short, sharp" review of the live trade into the northern hemisphere summer to come up with ways of improving conditions on the ships.
He said he also wanted tougher penalties for companies found doing the wrong thing, which could mean big fines or even jail terms for the heads of live export companies. "You're a cancer and we're going to cut you out and remove you out of the industry," Mr Littleproud said.
The tough talk came as the Federal regulator, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, continued its assessment of live export ship the Awassi Express, currently berthed in Fremantle, reiterating it would not be able to sail unless it met conditions for minimum airflow through livestock pens.
The Awassi, which carries animals for WA exporter Emanuel, is at the centre of the outcry against the industry after group Animals Australia released shocking vision of animals dying in extreme heat on voyages to the Middle East.
WAFarmers president Tony York said he had animals from his farm waiting to be loaded on to the Awassi. He said his belief that the live export industry was meeting appropriate standards was "being challenged".
WA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan, who has called for a ban on live exports during the northern summer months, said she struggled to see how live exporters could safely transport animals to the Middle East without air-conditioning.
Any move to impose air-conditioning on exporters would either require an expensive fit-out of ships, or the contracting of new ships, at huge costs to the trade.