The Federal Government has been ordered to pay almost $3 million in damages to the Brett Cattle Company after the previous Labor government's decision to ban live cattle exports was found to be invalid.
After six years of court proceedings, including 18 months of deliberation, Justice Steven Rares on June 2 handed down in the Federal Court his findings in favour of the Brett Cattle Company-led class action against the Australian Government stemming from the ban.
He found then Labor Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig committed misfeasance in public office when he made the ban order on 7 June 2011.
The class action was led by Brett Cattle Company and included about 300 members.
Today Justice Rares ordered the Federal Government to pay the company $2,936,936.99 damages as well as its legal costs.
Related reading:Ludwig at fault: producers win live export court case
According to Australian Associated Press, Justice Rares also ordered other graziers were entitled to $2.15 per kilogram for steers and $1.95 for heifers which would have been exported to Indonesia had the ban not been in place.
All parties will be back in court later this year to finalise the damages but the total cost to the government could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, according to AAP.
Michael O'Meara SC for the government noted his client had 28 days to decide whether Justice Rares' decision will be appealed.
- With Australian Associated Press