The federal government has pledged $8.3 million over four years to help livestock exporters implement the new Livestock Global Assurance Program (LGAP), designed to improve efficiency and competitiveness of trade. ·
The program will work with the current Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) to better protect animals’ welfare by “ensuring independent, comprehensive supply chain assessment”.
The funds injection, part of the 2017-18 Budget, will help the Coalition Government deliver on its promise to cut red tape for livestock producers and exporters.
In a visit to Gracemere in Central Queensland in April, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce and Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd assured that the LGAP program will uphold the high standards of animal welfare that underpin Australia’s livestock export trade.
The federal government will remain the regulator of the nation’s livestock export industry and all exporters of livestock for slaughter will still have to demonstrate ESCAS compliance.
Global leader in welfare for exported livestock
Currently, Australia is the only country in more than 100 nations exporting live animals that requires World Organisation for Animal Health welfare standards to be met as a minimum for all exported livestock.
The Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System performance report released in January 2015 showed that more than 99 percent of livestock exported from Australia since ESCAS’s introduction were delivered to their intended destinations without reported incident.
LGAP: improving efficiency while maintaining regulatory oversight
“While ESCAS has delivered significant improvements to animal welfare, it imposes a significant regulatory and financial burden, costing government and industry an estimated $17.6 million annually,” noted Minister Joyce.
“The Livestock Global Assurance Program is an industry-led scheme that will improve the efficiency and competitiveness of our live exporters; however, the government will still remain the regulator of the Australian livestock export industry.”
Ken O’Dowd said the program exemplifies the practical approach the government is taking to secure and improve outcomes for the livestock export industry.
“This new program is a step towards reducing that burden and improving the independence, integrity, transparency and accountability of the live animal export trade,” he said.
Australia exported almost $1.8 billion worth of livestock in 2015–16 across an industry that generates domestic employment of up to 10,000 people.