Lawyers for live export ban class action set to reveal evidence

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Lawyers working on the live cattle export suspension class action are set to reveal strong supporting evidence to their compensation claim.

The class action, now past the discovery period, was launched by Minter Ellison and is seeking millions of dollars in compensation on behalf of pastoralists and industry members.

The evidence will relate to the events leading up to the ban in the office of the former minister for agriculture Joe Ludwig when he suspended the live export trade due to animal cruelty allegations.

The law suit, which comes three years after the government refused to engage in negotiations, claims that the decision to suspend trade back in 2011 was rushed and made without industry consultation.  A spokesperson for one claimant told the ABC that the decision did not improve trade or animal welfare conditions.

“Because of the seasonal nature of the live cattle export industry, the Federal Government's six-month prohibition on the export of live cattle to Indonesia effectively closed down the trade for more than 12 months,” partner Andrew Gill told Australasian Lawyer.

“The ban was a bolt out of the blue – it was like a stock market crash. 

“It resulted in a complete lack of confidence in the industry, cattle prices plummeted, property prices hit rock bottom.  The whole foundation of the industry was taken away and with that people's livelihoods.”

The matter, which was launched back in 2014 with Brett Cattle Company as the lead Applicant, will be back before the court this month.

“Completion of the discovery process by both parties marks a significant milestone in the case,” Gill said.

“Now that discovery is completed the Applicants are very positive about the likely outcome.”

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