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Beef exports 'struggling'

THE impacts of Australia's damaged live cattle export trade are still hurting the cattle market in the Gympie region and across Australia, according to Gympie's Wide Bay federal MP Warren Truss.

Mr Truss said "just a trickle" of Australian cattle had been shipped to Indonesia since the Federal Government re-opened the live trade 11 weeks ago.

"Only 60,000 head have been transported at a time of year when our live cattle exporters would normally be sending more than double that number," Mr Truss said.

"Last year, in excess of 172,000 head were exported to Indonesia from June through September," he said.

Mr Truss said the government was showing "raw hide" by "positively boasting about the export of just 13,500 head from Wyndham and Broome in Western Australia, with another 8100 to go".

"I'm not impressed and neither are northern Australia's cattle producers or the myriad small businesses and communities that rely on the trade and have been left in the lurch by the government," he said.

Gympie beef graziers have said they are feeling the indirect effects of the northern Australian crisis, especially those who breed cattle for sale to northern producers when they replenish their herds.

Others said the general downturn in demand for cattle had depressed prices across the nation.

"Real people have been put through the wringer over the government's bungled handling of live exports and they are unlikely to recover anytime soon."

The ban was put in place after a Four Corners television program exposed cruel slaughtering practices at some Indonesian abattoirs, with the RSPCA and Greens backing the embargo, placed on the trade by federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig after the revelations.

Mr Ludwig initially banned exports to 11 Indonesian abattoirs.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie demanded an immediate end to exports to Indonesia, a call which was strongly criticised by Mr Truss at the time.

He said Australia needed to help improve practices in Indonesian abattoirs.

Topics:  australian government cattle industry farmers live exports ban warren truss

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