Like most Australians, Labor finds the footage of animal cruelty that has recently emerged deeply distressing. Without a swift and comprehensive response from the Turnbull Liberal Government, the sector will struggle to secure the public confidence it needs to remain successful.
Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce inherited the world's best animal welfare system from Labor, but he has failed the live export sector with his slack approach to his portfolio responsibilities.
We are now seeing public trust and confidence in the live export industry undermined because Barnaby Joyce has left the regulatory regime struggling to keep pace in his attempt to open new markets too quickly, all for his own political gain.
The live export industry has responded quickly to revelations that animals were slaughtered in violent and unacceptable circumstances in Vietnamese abattoirs.
But events like these will damage public confidence in live exports. It will take much work to re-build it.
Barnaby Joyce must address the fact that there have now been a number of breakdowns in the live export assurance process on his watch. It is time for him to take some responsibility.
Labor has already committed to review the five-year-old Export Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS), including its sanctions, to determine whether the regulatory framework is working as effectively as it needs to in order to balance a strong live export industry with protecting animal welfare.
Labor has also committed to the establishment of an Independent Office of Animal Welfare and the appointment of an Inspector General of Animal Welfare. A Shorten Labor Government will also provide quarterly Ministerial reports to Parliament on the state of the live export sector, including any allegations or investigations relating to animal cruelty.
Barnaby Joyce has refused to commit to any of these important steps to continue improving animal welfare in the live export industry.
Barnaby Joyce must either back Labor's plans or lay out his own to continue strengthening animal welfare outcomes in live exports.
Australians are waiting to hear that the Minister has more to offer than his usual bluff and bluster when it comes to this significant industry and the protection of animals within it.
To find out more about Labor’s animal welfare policy visit http://www.100positivepolicies.org.au/protecting_animal_welfare_and_boosting_agricultural_profitability