Last week's 60 Minutes program put the live export trade back in the public spot light.
One thing is certain, a business-as-usual approach is not acceptable.
But our farmers should not be punished for something over which they have no control.
That's why the Opposition has extended a bipartisan hand to the government.
To end the cruelty without hurting our farmers.
But there are a few conditions attached to our offer of bipartisanship.
The government must support our plan for an independent cop on the beat as outlined in Labor's six-point plan (an Inspector General of Animal Welfare and an Independent Office of Animal Welfare).
The government must also accept that current animal welfare standards don't and can't meet reasonable animal welfare conditions nor community expectations.
They must be updated.
Bizarrely, Department of Agriculture investors found no breaches with respect to the voyage highlighted on the 60 Minutes programs. Something is wrong.
The live trade provided producers with another selling option and therefore, can increase farm income.
But it's time to give our farmers better market options than the live export model and to focus more on adding greater value to our product here in Australia.
To create more jobs here and to create high value products here for export markets.
I would like to invite all Hunter constituents to the Hunter Community Forum at East Cessnock Bowling Club on Tuesday, April 17, from 10am to 1pm.
The community forum is a free event that aims to inform locals about the range of services available within our community.
Guest speakers from Hunter Financial Services, Hunter Community Legal, Human Services, NSW Police, Lifeline and Coalfields Healthy Heartbeat will run information sessions with representatives on hand to answer questions.
There will also be information packs and resources available on a range of topics.
All are welcome to attend.
I look forward to the opportunity to address the forum and to let people know more about my role as Federal Member for Hunter and how my office can assist you.
Please RSVP for the forum by calling 4991 1022 or email [email protected]