CLP and Labor vow $4m for NT cattle export

Neda Vanovac

The Northern Territory's government and opposition both say they will spend $4.1 million upgrading cattle live export yards if elected in August.

On Tuesday, the five-year anniversary since the federal government banned live exports to Indonesia in 2011, the NT government announced it would upgrade facilities at the Berrimah live export yards, improve animal welfare and support sustainable development of the trade.

"We've rebuilt the industry ... to the point that we have the largest live export port in the world," Chief Minister Adam Giles told reporters.

In 2014/15 more than 600,000 head of cattle were exported from Darwin.

New sheds and feeding and watering yards will help overcome wet season difficulties, the government said.

The industry will be able to operate at near-capacity throughout the wet season, said Stuart Kemp, CEO of the NT Livestock Exporters Association.

"Following the close-down in 2011, industry had a wake-up call, and we spent a lot of effort and resources in market through education and training, equipment, facilities, men on the ground, to improve those standards (in animal welfare) and that work is ongoing," he said.

"We still see the occasional incidence of non-compliance that's unacceptable, and we'll continue to work to get that right."

Labor also backed the funding, saying it was "the right thing to do".

"A Labor government will apply our strong Buy Local policy to this grant and ensure the local content rules are applied through the whole of the project. This ensures strong support for Territory jobs," said Opposition Leader Michael Gunner.

A class action against the federal government is currently under way, alleging that the 2011 suspension by former Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig was invalid, rushed, and done without appropriate consultation.

Mr Giles said Labor instated the ban and now the coalition was forced to deal with the fall-out, but said he wanted to see the court action settled.

"It's a difficult position for the coalition to be in, but I'd like to see them come to some form of resolution to provide closure to those farmers and others who were involved in that terrible decision," he said.