Lead applicants Emily and Colin Brett from the Brett Cattle Company will be giving evidence in the Federal Court matter of Brett Cattle Company versus the Commonwealth over the next three weeks.
The court will hear evidence given by key witnesses including a former Elders Indonesia employee, an Indonesian based Australian feedlot operator and an Indonesian businessman who has invested with Australian interests in Indonesia.
The Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association former chief executive officer and facilitator of the class action stemming from the 2011 live export ban, Tracey Hayes, will be in Sydney as those affected by the ban will get their day in court.
“Over the course of the next few weeks, the Federal Court will hear of the loss suffered by cattle producers across North Australia as a result of the Government’s decision to ban live exports of Cattle to Indonesia in June 2011,” Ms Hayes said.
“It was not just the farmers that endured losses – it was contractors, employees and local communities that were devastated by the Government’s ban.
“We will lead evidence showing that the Australian Government’s decision to suspend the cattle trade caused the Indonesian Government to reduce the number of cattle that they would import from Australia.
“Considered in its totality, the ban had a significant impact on both the cattle industry and the lead applicant in this case.”
Ms Hayes said over the past four and a half years, Australian farmers have engaged in these proceedings to seek compensation from the Commonwealth.
“As I’m sure you all know, litigation is undertaken as a last resort. It is unfortunate that the Australian Government has been so combative in the course of these proceedings,” she said.
“One would hope other industries, businesses and families will never have to face such Government action. I hope that the next few weeks will be a catharsis for an industry that has weathered significant challenges in the past decade.”
NTCA chief executive officer Ashley Manicaros said the current debate regarding live export is a timely reminder that governments must not operate in a knee jerk fashion and must carefully consider the consequences and impacts of decisions.
“Australian farmers and live exporters are exporting best practice animal welfare into the markets we do business with and it is an important industry underpinning the viability of Northern Australia,” he said.