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Live export ban cost 326 jobs, study reveals

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A leaked federal government study has revealed June's ban of live export to Indonesia cost 326 jobs, stranded 274,000 animals and had a negative financial impact on 58 percent of affected farmers. The report, shown to The Australian, said of 596,000 cows earmarked for export to Indonesia this year, 365,000 animals remained unsold. The survey was a confidential study into the results of the Government decision to ban live export following a Four Corners report revealed grossly inhumane treatment of cows during slaughter in Indonesian abattoirs. Despite the lift of the ban more than three weeks ago, no beef exporter has been issued with a permit to export animals in adherance with strict new standards guaranteeing animal welfare. The majority of jobs lost were in the Northern Territory. Businesses across the territory, Western Australia and Queensland reported having to reduce their engagement of contractors and musterers. Only five percent of businesses indicated their closure was imminent if the suspension continues, the report said, due to existing high debt levels. But 40 percent of businesses have already had to defer non-essential spending (e.g. on repairs), 76 percent have delayed mustering, and over 10 percent of businesses had deferred loan repayments. The report said nearly 75 percent of farmers believed they would be forced to sell cattle into lower-priced markets in order to generate cashflow and reduce pressure on feedlots due to overstocking. The Federal Government has made funding available to farmers adversely affected by the ban.

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