The union representing meatworkers has claimed that the expansion of the live export cattle trade would put up to a thousand jobs at Casino’s meat processing plant at risk.
The Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union spokesperson Grant Courtney said Page MP Kevin Hogan’s support of live exports called into question his commitment to the people of Page.
‘With over 1,000 local jobs on the line, Mr Hogan has turned his back on the electorate in a clear case of conflict of interest and voters have every right to question where their local member’s loyalties truly lie.’
‘Is the Member for Page committed to strengthening his electorate or has he fallen to the narrow interests of an industry that contributes nothing to the broader community he is supposed to represent?
‘The national cattle herd sits at its lowest point in 23 years and is expected to keep falling.
‘Meanwhile, the volume of live exports has steadily increased, placing additional downward pressure on the number of cattle available to the local processing sector.’
But Mr Hogan has hit back saying the union should be calling on Labor to stop live exporting as well, while denying the trade would impact locally.
‘Joel Fitzgibbon, Labor’s Shadow Minister for Agricultural, at a forum in Casino on Monday night stated he supports live exports,’ Mr Hogan said.
‘Therefore the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union need to call on labor to stop supporting live export as well.
Mr Hogan said the live live export market was concentrated in the northern area of Australia.
‘It is impossible to muster cattle in the northern part of Australia during the wet season. These cattle are bred specifically for live export,’ he said.
‘When live export was banned these cattle could not be sold overseas and depressed the cattle market for years.
‘The live export market is specific to Northern Australia out of Darwin. The beef cattle market locally is not geared to live exports.
‘The live export market, therefore, does not impact on local meatworks jobs.’