NFF backs live export legal action

THE nation's peak farmers' group has backed legal action taken against the Federal Government over Labor's 2011 ban on live cattle exports.

Led by members of the Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association, legal proceedings were filed in the Federal Court on Monday afternoon.

However Minter Ellison, the law firm handling the class action that could include Queensland cattle producers who lost out due to the ban, did not return calls on Tuesday.

Since the ban on live cattle exports to Indonesia was enacted in June 2011, the industry has been negotiating with the previous and current Federal Government over compensation.

But the class action has reportedly come after those talks broke down in recent months.

National Farmers' Federation president Brent Finlay said the original decision was "without precedent" and devastating for producers across northern Australia.

"The ban in 2011 left Australia's domestic reputation in tatters," he said.

"Not to mention the massive financial losses for individual cattle producers, many of whom either left the industry altogether or are still trying to repair the damage done."Paddocks across northern Australia were overstocked.

"Cattle had to be trucked thousands of kilometres between properties, put on agistment or sold below cost to make ends meet."

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce would not comment on the matter as it was before the courts.

But he said the government would continue its efforts to "rebuild and expand the live export trade", and that more than 1.3 million head of cattle, worth $1.4 billion, was exported since the Coalition took office.

- APN NEWSDESK


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