A counter to the Commonwealth's compensation offer for producers and beef businesses in the class action on the 2011 live cattle ban has been made, the National Farmers' Federation has reported.
The applicants have made an open offer in good faith to the Commonwealth of $510 million plus costs and interest to settle what the Federal Court has found was malfeasance by the Gillard Government.
The Commonwealth had offered $215 million.
The counter offer would likely see a settlement to those effected of between $800 and $900 million.
NFF described the counter offer as fair and equitable and urged the Commonwealth to settle.
The group of 215 parties to the class action include cattle producers, exporters and independent service providers, such as veterinarians and musterers.
NFF chief executive officer Tony Mahar said Agriculture Minister Murray Watt should accept the offer and allows families to move on from a traumatic event that has been running for over ten years.
"This latest settlement offer is an attempt to bring to an end a very painful chapter in the history of Australian agriculture that has done severe and unnecessary damage to producers, their families and the broader supply chain," he said.
"The rushed decision following a Four Corners story combined with a premeditated campaign by animal rights activists was found to have been unlawful, with the Federal Court taking the extraordinary step of labelling the action 'capricious, irrational and unreasonable'."
The Commonwealth Government has until 19 January 2024 to accept the offer or face a potentially much more significant payout allowing the Federal Court to rule on the quantum of damages.
With the Commonwealth Government currently considering the banning of the live sheep trade, this case should be a timely reminder to those in power that capricious decision making around Australian agriculture can have catastrophic impacts for the lives of Australian farmers, NFF said.
"This case and the consequences for the Commonwealth should be a lesson on how not to operate and we hope they've learned the lessons from the past in their attempts to ban the live sheep export trade in Australia. In the last few days the Labor Premier of Western Australia has called on the Albanese Government to reverse its decision and the Commonwealth needs to listen," Mr Mahar said.