Prime Minister, Ag Minister show contempt for farmers at Beef 2024 in live cattle legal case and fresh food tax

07 May 2024

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Agriculture Minister Murray Watt are brazenly appearing at Beef2024, while refusing to settle a live cattle legal case from more than a decade ago and also preparing to launch a senseless fresh food tax on the cattle industry that will drive up the price of beef amid a cost-of-living crisis.

Leader of The Nationals David Littleproud said Mr Albanese and Minister Watt have shown contempt for the cattle industry and Aussie farmers since forming Government

“This Government has no shame in its treatment of our farmers and continues to show callous disregard for the industry,” Mr Littleproud said.

“First of all, Labor is refusing to reach a settlement with cattle producers impacted by Labor’s unlawful ban on the live cattle industry in 2011, which rocked the industry to its core and had a major financial impact. Despite having six months to respond, the Government recently requested a further three-month delay in legal proceedings in the Brett Cattle Case, while also refusing proposed compensation of $510 million plus interest plus costs, which would likely see a settlement to those affected of between $800 million and $900 million.”

Senator Susan McDonald said it is appropriate that 13 years on – with many of the same Labor Cabinet Ministers sitting around the table – a settlement should be made to rectify the unjust decision to shut down the live cattle trade overnight.

“Justice Rares made his determination years ago and yet truck operators, cattle producers and small business people of Northern Australia are literally dying, waiting for settlement of this terrible decision,” Senator McDonald said.

The Nationals are also standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Australian farmers to fight Labor’s fresh food tax, which will hurt families and farmers amid a cost-of-living crisis.

“On July 1, Labor will introduce a fresh food tax, forcing Australian farmers to pay for the biosecurity risks of international importers,” Mr Littleproud said.

“In what parallel universe would a government charge its own farmers, including cattle farmers, to pay for the risks their competitors are creating?”

Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said the biosecurity protection levy is a poorly disguised attack on farmers.

“The 1,714 farmers in my electorate of Capricornia are already battling significant challenges. This levy will add another layer of pressure, squeezing their already tight margins. This levy isn’t just a tax on farmers, it’s a tax on the very fabric of regional Australia,” Ms Landry said.

“An importer container levy is a well-established and proven approach. It’s a fair and sustainable way to fund biosecurity by ensuring the cost is borne by those who introduce the risk, not by our hardworking farmers.”

Federal Member for Flynn Colin Boyce said Labor’s fresh food tax is another example of the Labor Government biting the hand that feeds it.

“The new tax on farmers will affect so many of the industries here at Beef2024 and will inevitably be passed onto consumers, which means even higher grocery bills for those in Flynn,” Mr Boyce said.

“It is unfathomable the Labor government would ask farmers to pay for the biosecurity risks of international importers from other countries. As the Federal Member for Flynn, I am determined to stop this new tax on our farmers and our food.”

Senator Matt Canavan said we're going to see plenty of Labor politicians at Beef2024 talking up how much they love our beef industry, while trying to slug them with a brand new tax to charge them to protect them from the biosecurity risks of their competitors.

“Australian families are already struggling with rampant inflation under Labor, but the new fresh food tax that they're stamping on our producers is just going to make it harder for Australian families as the costs are passed on,” Senator Canavan said.