Bahijah: Application to re- export livestock refused – What next?

Here’s the latest from Secretary Hennessy of the Federal Department of Agriculture as of 4.45 pm WST/Fremantle time.

As you’ll see the application to re-export the livestock, mainly if not wholly sheep, to Israel via the Cape of Good Hope has ‘not been approved’. By any other phrase, the application has been refused.

What happens next is not clear.

The options would appear to be re-export to another destination or return to Fremantle or to other Australian port, with the approval of the Federal Department of Ag.

The exporter may also choose to seek review of the regulator’s decision.

Our money is on the review option.

Here’s the statement by the Secretary.

Update 5 February 2024

The application submitted on 26 January 2024 for the re-export of livestock onboard the MV Bahijah to Israel via the Cape of Good Hope has not been approved by my department.

The departmental regulator was unable to be satisfied, in accordance with subsection 8-6(3) of the Export Control (Animals) Rules 2021 (Rules), that:

1. the requirements of the Export Control Act 2020 (Act) in relation to the export of livestock have been complied with, or will be complied with before the livestock are imported into the importing country, and
2. the importing country requirements relating to the livestock have been met, or will be met before the livestock are imported into the importing country, and
3. the arrangements for the transport of the livestock to their final overseas destination are appropriate to ensure their health and welfare.

In making this decision the regulator has considered all relevant information from a variety of sources. This decision-making required thorough and detailed engagement with the legislative scheme and consideration of all available evidence and submissions, in real time as this complex situation evolved.

The department will publish more information on the reasons for the decision as soon as practicable.

Separately, and in response to next steps, the department is continuing to work with relevant stakeholders to manage the health and welfare of the livestock and uphold Australia’s biosecurity.

Throughout this whole process, Australia’s biosecurity, and the health and welfare of the animals onboard, have remained the Department’s highest priorities.

Applications to export live animals undergo complex assessments that balance Australian biosecurity, export legislation, animal welfare considerations and the requirements of our international trading partners.

The livestock on the vessel continue to be in good health and they remain under veterinary care and supervision. There is no suspicion of exotic pests or diseases within the livestock.

The next steps for the livestock onboard the vessel are commercial decisions for the exporter to make. A range of options remain available to the exporter, and the department stands ready to assess any future application submitted by the exporter.

Now that the regulatory decision has been made, my department supports a resolution to this matter as quickly as possible and stands ready to respond to any further requests from the commercial exporter.

Watch this space.


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