Cattle industry's costly class-action demands compo from ban

A COSTLY class-action against the new Federal Government is brewing as the cattle industry demands compensation for losses caused by the 2011 ban on live exports.

It comes as Indonesia this week agreed to take more Australian cattle following a visit by Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

McCullough Robertson litigator Trent Thorne said he tried to negotiate a solution on behalf of his clients with former Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig but found him hamstrung on the policy.

"From the previous government's point of view, it was a political issue," he said.

"I don't see that problem with the current government."

By Mr Thorne's estimates, the month-long ban in mid-2011 destroyed more than $600 million in value for the industry.

He said between four major pastoral companies, $100 million had been wiped from their property values.

Mr Thorne would not discuss estimates of compensation, but said some of his clients lost "well into the tens of millions of dollars".

AgForce Queensland Charles Burke knew of the legal manoeuvring and said he was not surprised by the action.

"Some people who were severely impacted by the ban in 2011 have experienced a significant loss of income," Mr Burke said.

"It will be interesting to see how it unfolds."

Mr Thorne said he expected to arrange negotiations with Mr Joyce and the Department of Agriculture before the year's end.

If an appropriate agreement cannot be reached, Mr Thorne said a class action would be considered as the next step.

Mr Joyce declined to comment.


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