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The Live Export class action filed against the Commonwealth is approaching a significant milestone with the discovery process nearing completion.
“This is a significant step forward in the case, with the completion of the discovery process by both parties presenting the first opportunity for Brett Cattle Company, the lead party in the class action, to view the material that the Minister and the Commonwealth relied upon to make the decision to suspend the live export trade to Indonesia in 2011” said Tracey Hayes, Chief Executive Officer of the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association.
The Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association, whilst not a party to the claim has facilitated the process with assistance from the Australian Farmers Fighting Fund and National Farmers Federation.
“The material reviewed by law firm Minter Ellison supports Brett Cattle Company's points of claim and builds on the industry's long held theory that the decision to suspend the trade in 2011 was rushed, made without real consultation and did little to actually improve trade or animal welfare conditions.”
“The next significant task is to complete the picture of what actually happened in the department and the Minister's office in the days leading up to the ban and present our evidence to the court.”
Ms Hayes advises that a notice to all potentially affected parties will soon be circulated in peak body publications, industry press and major media outlets. This will call on anyone not wishing to be involved in the claim to 'opt out'. It is a formal step of the court before the case proceeds to hearing.
“All of Brett Cattle Company's evidence will be filed before the end of the year, and Minter Ellison will be seeking a hearing date in the 2nd half of 2016” said Ms Hayes.