MIL-OSI Australia: Independent assessment of fish deaths

Source: Australian Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources

Independent assessment of fish deaths

22 January 2019

An independent panel will assess the deaths of fish in the lower Darling River in December 2018 and January 2019, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud announced today.  

The independent panel will be chaired by University of Melbourne Prof Rob Vertessy, who is also Chair of the Murray Darling Basin Authority’s independent Advisory Committee on Social, Economic and Environmental Sciences (ACEESS). Prof Vertessy will pick other panellists. 

Minister Littleproud said the panel would aim to identify causes of the fish deaths and make recommendations within the framework of the historic Murray-Darling Basin Plan and Murray-Darling Basin Agreement.  

“The vision we saw of dead fish floating in the river was upsetting for all,” Minister Littleproud said. 

“I fished in my local river, the Condamine, for much of my life and I’d hate to see that kind of event there, as I hate to see it in the Darling. 

“I’ve written to the PM requesting this assessment and the PM has agreed. 

“We always need to be growing and learning, so we can make sure we manage the risk of these events as well as we can in the future. 

“So we’re having a fair dinkum independent panel have a good look at this – with proper access to the scientists and river managers who run the system. 

“The independent panel will obtain advice from relevant New South Wales Department of Fisheries scientists and other experts including in native freshwater fish ecology, water management and water quality.” 

The independent panel will:

  • assess the water management, events, and conditions leading up to the 2018-19 fish deaths to identify likely causes;
  • assess the effectiveness of existing fish management responses to manage fish death risks in the lower Darling River; and
  • provide recommendations to the Minister, MDBA and Murray-Darling Basin Governments on strategies to prevent similar events in the future, enhance native fish recovery in the lower Darling River and inform the lower Darling under Murray Darling Basin Plan Native Fish Management and Recovery strategy.

The panel will interview State and Federal agency staff and local residents including Aboriginal stakeholders. It will also convene a facilitated workshop involving independent reviewers and a broader group of experts to validate the methods used in, and recommendations from, the independent assessment. 

A preliminary report and early advice and recommendations will be given to the Minister by 20 February and the final report to the Minister, Chair of the Murray Darling Basin Authority Board and the Murray Darling Basin Ministers by 31 March. 

Both the early advice and the final report of the independent panel will be released publicly.

MIL OSI Australia

MIL-OSI Australia: Live export footage investigation

Source: Australian Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources

Live export footage investigation

21 January 2018

The federal Department of Agriculture has started to formally investigate under what conditions footage of the Awassi’s May to October 2017 voyages was obtained.  

The department will investigate whether payments were made to fabricate inhumane changed conditions on the voyages.   

“Depending on what the department finds, other agencies may need to be involved,” Minister Littleproud said. 

“Whilst the department examined all 800-plus pieces of footage at the time, it can’t hurt to investigate. If animals were deliberately mistreated for even one piece of footage, those responsible must be brought to justice.” 

Minister Littleproud, currently en route home after attending the EU Agriculture Ministers’ conference in Berlin, said Australians deserved clear information about the footage and any payments made. Media organisations will be asked for information to assist. 

“It’s important Australians remember reforms to the live export industry were not as a result of nor based on the Awassi footage – they are based on science. The industry had 10 consignments in which more than 2 per cent of the sheep died in the past ten years. I’ll continue to stay the course on these reforms – my office is methodically working through the reform process with stakeholders. 

“Doing the sensible thing sometimes means being criticised by both sides. 

“Depending on the outcome of these investigations, we may need to consider the best way to make sure taking action which could reasonably be expected to cause cruelty to animals being exported is punishable.  

“We need to make sure all animal cruelty is stamped out regardless of the motivation behind it.”

Source: Australian Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources

Live export footage investigation

21 January 2018

The federal Department of Agriculture has started to formally investigate under what conditions footage of the Awassi’s May to October 2017 voyages was obtained.  

The department will investigate whether payments were made to fabricate inhumane changed conditions on the voyages.   

“Depending on what the department finds, other agencies may need to be involved,” Minister Littleproud said. 

“Whilst the department examined all 800-plus pieces of footage at the time, it can’t hurt to investigate. If animals were deliberately mistreated for even one piece of footage, those responsible must be brought to justice.” 

Minister Littleproud, currently en route home after attending the EU Agriculture Ministers’ conference in Berlin, said Australians deserved clear information about the footage and any payments made. Media organisations will be asked for information to assist. 

“It’s important Australians remember reforms to the live export industry were not as a result of nor based on the Awassi footage – they are based on science. The industry had 10 consignments in which more than 2 per cent of the sheep died in the past ten years. I’ll continue to stay the course on these reforms – my office is methodically working through the reform process with stakeholders. 

“Doing the sensible thing sometimes means being criticised by both sides. 

“Depending on the outcome of these investigations, we may need to consider the best way to make sure taking action which could reasonably be expected to cause cruelty to animals being exported is punishable.  

“We need to make sure all animal cruelty is stamped out regardless of the motivation behind it.”

MIL OSI Australia

MIL-OSI Australia: Farm shaming website despicable: Littleproud

Source: Australian Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources

Farm shaming website despicable: Littleproud

21 January 2019

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud has called out the Aussie Farms Map launched today as an anonymous farm shaming website with no real outcomes for animal welfare. 

“This website is irresponsible at best,” Minister Littleproud said. 

“Putting the locations of farms online could be creating an attack map for activists. This will potentially result in illegal behaviour by activists. 

“Farms are people’s homes, not just their businesses. Some farmers have already complained the website claims they run businesses which they do not. 

“Further, we don’t know if the footage posted on this website is actually from the farm it is attributed to. Content such as graphic images or video can be uploaded and attached to any farm by anonymous users. 

“This potentially encourages activists to trespass and worse after being misled about the practices on that farm. Trespass also has the potential to cause significant bio-security issues that ironically could lead to the death of the animal. 

The website, run by charity Aussie Farms, lacks official checks and balances and has a clear agenda. 

“Australian producers are some of the cleanest and greenest in the world, are proud of the work they do and are a key pillar of the Australian economy. 

“Our farmers play an important role in feeding and clothing people across the world. They deserve to be thanked, not have their addresses published and possible be harassed in their own homes.”

Source: Australian Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources

Farm shaming website despicable: Littleproud

21 January 2019

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud has called out the Aussie Farms Map launched today as an anonymous farm shaming website with no real outcomes for animal welfare. 

“This website is irresponsible at best,” Minister Littleproud said. 

“Putting the locations of farms online could be creating an attack map for activists. This will potentially result in illegal behaviour by activists. 

“Farms are people’s homes, not just their businesses. Some farmers have already complained the website claims they run businesses which they do not. 

“Further, we don’t know if the footage posted on this website is actually from the farm it is attributed to. Content such as graphic images or video can be uploaded and attached to any farm by anonymous users. 

“This potentially encourages activists to trespass and worse after being misled about the practices on that farm. Trespass also has the potential to cause significant bio-security issues that ironically could lead to the death of the animal. 

The website, run by charity Aussie Farms, lacks official checks and balances and has a clear agenda. 

“Australian producers are some of the cleanest and greenest in the world, are proud of the work they do and are a key pillar of the Australian economy. 

“Our farmers play an important role in feeding and clothing people across the world. They deserve to be thanked, not have their addresses published and possible be harassed in their own homes.”

MIL OSI Australia

MIL-OSI Australia: Aussie wine keeps flowing in the UK

Source: Australian Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources

Aussie wine keeps flowing in the UK

19 January 2019

  • Agreement with the UK to safeguard Australian wine exports post-Brexit
  • Includes labelling rules, wine-making practices and geographical indications
  • Current agreement to continue for wine trade between Australia and the EU

An agreement has been struck overnight to safeguard Australian wine exports to the UK post-Brexit.

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said the deal was done to maintain Australia’s strong trading relationship the UK.

“The UK bought more Aussie wine than any other country last year—that’s a customer we want to look after,” Minister Littleproud said.

“This agreement will protects Australia’s geographical indicators so UK consumers know our wine is fair dinkum.

“It also outlines wine labelling rules and recognises Australia’s authorised wine-making practices including a simple approval process for new wine-making practices.

“The agreement will secure the benefits of the existing deal with the EU so they continue with the UK after leaving the union.

“Last year, nearly a third of our wine exports went to the UK.

“We can grow our trade relationship with the UK under this agreement and put more money in Australian wine grower’s pockets.”

The Agreement between Australia and the European Community on Trade in Wine will continue to apply to wine trade between Australia and the EU.

Fast facts:

  • In the 12 months to September 2018:
  • The UK was Australia’s top wine export market by volume – 239 million litres.
  • The UK was Australia’s third largest wine market by value worth $380 million.
  • Worldwide Australian wine exports increased by 11% in value to $2.71 billion, and 5% in volume to 842 million litres.​

MIL OSI Australia

MIL-OSI Australia: Cutting red tape for farm businesses

Source: Australian Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources

Cutting red tape for farm businesses​

18 January 2019

  • Coalition Government releases response to Productivity Commission Inquiry into Regulation of Australian Agriculture
  • The report reveals significant costs to farmers from unnecessary regulations across all governments and the private sector
  • Many of the recommendations are already being actioned to help farmers​

The Coalition Government today released its response to the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into the Regulation of Australian Agriculture.

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said the Government was cutting unnecessary red tape for farmers.

“We want to reduce red tape so farm businesses can create wealth and jobs in our regional communities,” Minister Littleproud said.

“The report covers what all governments can do to cut red tape and we have already saved more than $125 million in red tape across agriculture.

“There are more opportunities to cut red tape in land use, water, animal welfare, agricultural and veterinary chemicals, biosecurity, transport, labour, competition and exports. 

“The government will not relax screening thresholds for foreign ownership of our farmland and agribusinesses as suggested in the report.

“We’ve struck the right balance – we’re protecting the national interest and attracting foreign investment.

“Many of the report’s findings are already well underway—both at Commonwealth and state level.

“A good example is the recent independent review of how the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act applies to farmers and how to improve the regulations.

“People work hard on the land and we don’t want them drowning in paperwork too.

“We will continue to work closely with all governments to improve regulation and push for better outcomes for farmers, business and communities.”

A copy of the report and the full response is available at http://www.agriculture.gov.au/about/reporting/obligations/government-responses/regulation-australian-agriculture

Fast facts

  • To build a better business environment for farmers the Coalition Government asked the Productivity Commission to review and report on the regulation of Australian agriculture.
  • The report identifies regulations that impose an unnecessary burden on Australian farm businesses and whether results could be achieved with less red tape.
  • The review was an initiative of the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.
  • Agriculture contributes around 2.7 per cent of Australia’s gross domestic product.
  • In 2016–17, the gross value of farm production exceeded $60 billion for the first time in our history. 

MIL OSI Australia