The Australian Department of Agriculture (DA) is currently reviewing their cost recovery arrangements for the exporting of live animals, which also includes reproductive products. There has not been a fee increase for the exporting of these commodities since 2009.
The Live Animal Exports (LAE) program facilitates the export of livestock, horses, companion animals and animal reproductive material from Australia by verifying their fitness for export, ensuring compliance with the relevant Australian standards and regulations, and certifying that the requirements of the importing countries have been met.
Harness Racing Australia (HRA) were invited by DA to a hastily convened series of meetings, the first of which was held on April 2nd , the second on the 22nd April with the final meeting scheduled for 30th April in Canberra. These meetings are conducted under strict confidentiality.
This confidentiality agreement has been varied in order to seek feedback and as a result HRA has spoken with a range of stakeholders who will be directly affected by any changes.
DA have issued two documents outlining the current review:
Live Animal Export Fee Review
Live Animal Export Advisory Notices
HRA are in the process of compiling industry feedback for a submission about the proposed fee increases and the effect that this may have on the wider industry, including breeding. This submission will initially focus on the totally unreasonable consultative process being undertaken by the Department, as well as the clear detrimental effects it will cause our industry.
Initial indications are that proposed increases in fees could kill an entire export industry, causing irreparable damage and widespread repercussions to the harness racing industry as well as the employment and economic benefits which flow to rural and regional Australia.
HRA will be highlighting concerns about the viability of exporting horses for sale or racing, the effect on New Zealand horses that race in Australia and then return, Shuttle Stallions and the export of semen.
The fee increases as proposed by DA are in the order of 38% for the costs associated with the export of horses, and up to 238% for the costs associated with the export of reproductive material.
In addition to the Standardbred Horse industry, HRA, as a member of the Australian Horse Industry Council is also seeking views from other horse associations about the impact that any fee increases may have.
To provide feedback and opinions on this issue please contact HRA Operations Manager, Gary Kairn, firstname.lastname@example.org or 03 9227 3003 urgently.
Harness Racing Australia