STRONG producer pushback is coming out of the north on touted government plans to hike up live export regulation costs and fees.
Outgoing Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association president Chris Nott has pointed out that despite millions of dollars in regulatory costs and seven reviews, mortality rates have not changed.
Mr Nott used part of his farewell address at the organisation's annual conference in March to issue a warning to the federal government to 'tread carefully' with its cost recovery plans for the live export sector.
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud are discussing with the live export industry on how to cover the whopping $15 million a year jump in costs since new measures were imposed on the industry three years ago amid calls for the trade to be banned.
The department released a controversial document flagging livestock export licenses going from from $25,000 to more than $105,000, among other hikes.
"Minister Littleproud says the hard work of producers is the reason behind many of the reforms made over the past few years," Mr Nott said.
"By reforming the industry, he says he is protecting the industry for us.
"It's important the minister understands these reforms need to be paid for and that costs put onto exporters ultimately will come out of our pockets.
"Should producers in the Territory be paying for reforms that were all started to fix an issue on a live-ex boat leaving WA carrying sheep to the Middle East?"
Mr Nott said in 2018 the regulatory cost to the industry was $8m and $7m of that was recovered by exporters. Now that cost was potentially going to be $20m.
"Here's the kicker - mortalities prior to all these groups was 0.1pc and it's still 0.1pc.
"Problems in markets are thankfully few and far between.
"We've spent millions of industry money on fixing issues and bringing in the best regulation in the world. But if a government department in Canberra thinks it can jack up the cost of regulation, force exporters out of the market and expect us to foot the cost I'd say tread carefully, we've been down this road before."
Mr Nott was referring to the landmark Federal Court ruling last year that the then Gillard Government's ban on live exports to Indonesia in 2011 was illegal, paving the way for hundreds of millions to be paid in compensation.
Mr Nott said: "If we've learned anything from the class action decision, it's that meddling in industries that aren't well understood from offices in the cities can have devastating consequences."