Live animal exporters who do the wrong thing could face up to 10 years behind bars and fines of up to $4.2 million or more, under sweeping changes to current legislation introduced to Federal Parliament today, Wednesday 24 May.
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources and Maranoa MP David Littleproud said amendments to the Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Act 1997 and the Export Control Act 1982 will better protect the welfare of exported livestock and put a stop to those who choose to cut corners for commercial advantage.
“I want to make sure that the punishment matches the crime and under new laws if exporters don’t meet animal welfare obligations they face up to 10 years in prison,” Minister Littleproud said.
“Companies who look to profit from dodgy practices will be slapped with a fine of $4.2 million, three times the benefit gained by the company or 10 per cent of the company’s turnover–whichever is greater.
“A director of a guilty company could face 10 years in prison or a fine of $2.1 million.
“We want the financial and other penalties to be harsh enough to act as a deterrent instead of being viewed as the cost of doing business for some of these companies.
“The horrific footage we witnessed recently makes it clear standards have been ignored by some in the industry and animals have suffered terribly as a consequence—that won’t happen again under my watch.
“Livestock exports are an important business option for our farmers. Australian farmers, and the Australian public more broadly, deserve to know that our world leading animal welfare practices are well supported by legislation.
For more information visit www.agriculture.gov.au/export-legislation
• A director of a guilty company could face 10 years prison or a fine of $2.1 million. An individual convicted under the same offence would face 10 years and $420,000 fine
• Other penalties will increase from the current 5 years prison and/or $63,000 fine for an individual to 8 years prison and/or $100,800 fine. For a company the fine will be increased from $315,000 to $504,000.
• The new Bill, which amends the current legislation, also enables on-the-spot fines to be handed out for other breaches of export conditions.
• Australia exported more than $1.4 billion worth of livestock in 2016-17.
• Live animal exports support up to 10,000 jobs both directly and indirectly.