WAFarmers is pleased to have met with the Federal Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud to discuss the current situation surrounding the live sheep trade.
Minister Littleproud met with a small delegation including representatives from WAFarmers lead by WAFarmers President Tony York and Vice President of Livestock Council John Wallace. Also in attendance was President of the Livestock Rural Transport Association Andy Jacob and delegates from Sheep Producers Australia.
WAFarmers President Tony York said the organisation appreciates Minister Littleproud making his way to Western Australia to hear firsthand how sheep farmers and supporting industries have been affected by the pause of the live sheep trade.
“It has been more than eight weeks since a shipment has left Western Australia and a backlog of stock is building in the supply chain,” Mr York said.
“This is particularly apparent for farmers in areas that are experiencing below average rainfall. Fortunately the season has allowed many of our farmers to manage their situation; however there will be a potential pinch point leading into the spring flush with the usual high lamb turnoff being combined with the additional live export stock not being able to be exported.
Minister Littleproud reiterated his desire to see the trade resume over the northern summer months under the McCarthy recommendations. Mr York said that it is essential that trade continues, in order to demonstrate the effectiveness of the McCarthy recommendations and show that the trade can operate safely and with high animal welfare outcomes.
“WAFarmers would like to see the McCarthy recommendations implemented to reduce potential risks associated with shipping over the peak summer period. We believe new live sheep export protocols will reduce issues associated with exporting sheep all year round and restore the confidence needed for the continuation of this important trade.
“Minister Littleproud expected that the Independent Regulator will release the outcome of the Emanuel Exports licence suspension and show cause action in the next two to three weeks.
“WAFarmers is hopeful that this will clarify if Emanuel Exports will be able to operate or not .This will make it clear for other exporters to take up the trade if Emanuel’s cease operations.
“Minister Littleproud recognises the exporters concerns surrounding the threat of an Animals Australia injunction upon the approval of any export licence on any future live sheep shipments. The Minister is actively working to bring forward the point in which a licence is issued to trigger any legal action at an earlier stage in the process. This should remove some of the risk for any exporter that is granted a licence.
“The Minister reiterated that the primary purpose of the summer trade regulations is to ensure the strictest animal welfare standards.
“WAFarmers is pleased Minister Littleproud was able to affirm his complete support for the live sheep trade. We will continue to work closely with the Minister and other key stakeholders to secure the future of this important trade.”