GREENS candidate for New England Mercurius Goldstein appeared on-site at the Inverell markets on Sunday and, despite the slight hiccup of not immediately finding someone to pay for the site, Mercurius did manage to sell a few messages on the day.
“It was a beautiful morning at Inverell, and the number one thing the people wanted to talk to me about was supporting the livestock industry by bringing the cattle down from the north and processing it here in New England,” Mr Goldstein said.
“What we know is that for every 400,000 head of cattle we can bring down from the north, it’s $200 million into this regional economy.
“A beast that is processed here in Australia is also worth 20 per cent more to the Australian economy than one shipped off-shore.
Mr Goldstein said such a move would keep Bindaree Beef strong, re-open Gunnedah, get the Armidale meat works up and running and get Coonabarabran back on its feet.
“I put this to a roomful of truck drivers in Tamworth at the Road Transporter’s Forum, and they much preferred the domestic processing option over live exports,” Mr Goldstein said.
“Will Barnaby Joyce, and Tony Windsor for that matter, commit to ending the live export trade?”
Member for New England and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce left little doubt about his stance on the issue.
“Not only will I not be committing to this demand from Mr Goldstein, I will do everything in my power to build on the seven major, and two minor new live animal export markets that we have opened since September 2013, including opening more markets and strengthening the sustainability of the industry,” Mr Joyce said.
“Our live export sector is a small, but fundamental component of Australia's red meat sector, as evidenced by the damage done to the whole industry when the Labor/Greens/Independent alliance conspired to ban the trade in 2011.
"Ridiculous demands like this are a good indicator to the people of New England and the nation of the chaos they can expect from a Shorten/Green/Independent government."
Independent candidate Tony Windsor said pre-packed and live were different markets, with religion mainly driving the live market to Indonesia. He said he had never been against the live trade industry.
“But I do think the industry has to remain vigilant once they reach overseas destinations, otherwise public opinion here may damage the trade,” Mr Windsor said.