New live export data shows potential impact of a trade ban

A new report on the live export trade prepared by Mecardo has refuted some information in a recent report prepared by Pegasus Economics, with the financial implications of the live export ban being particularly different.

Commissioned by WAFarmers with support from Sheep Producers Australia, the report was prepared as an independent view of the economic impact of the live sheep trade in WA, given its importance to the state economy and its producers.

WAFarmers President Tony York said the Mecardo report was purely economic so that the true cost of any sudden cessation of the trade could be considered.

“It was highly important to us that the emphasis of this report was purely economically focused, as it is a fact of life that producers must earn a living,” Mr York said.

“It is our opinion that the Pegasus report appeared to confuse national and state-based data; according to them, a ban of the live export trade would translate into a loss of approximately $9 million per annum for Western Australian sheep farmers.

“This is wildly inaccurate, with the figure actually being somewhere in the vicinity of $80 to $150 million; for some of the larger sheep producers in WA, this figure can be in excess of $100,000 per business.

“Further, a proposed increase in the domestic sale and processing of WA sheep and lamb as a result of a ban on live exports could see price declines of around 18 to 35 per cent for WA producers.

“The Mecardo data sets have come from around 30 years of data, and whilst an emphasis on recent trade to show today’s economic affect has been included, there has been care to acknowledge historical trade.”

Mr York said it was important to provide clarity on the economic impact of the industry, given the reliance of the trade to many of the organisation’s members and the highly emotional interest of the general public.

“The current live sheep export trade volume represents one third of the sheep and lamb offtake in WA every year, and the state itself represents 85 per cent of the national live sheep export trade,” he said.

“WAFarmers recently released a series of recommendations relating to the future of the live export industry, and while we acknowledge the potential increase in costs along the supply chain, we consider it to be the best option moving forward given the alternative would be devastating to the Western Australian agricultural economy.”

Mr York said WAFarmers absolutely did not condone the activities and behaviours presented in the footage aired on 60 Minutes, and would push as hard as possible to ensure livestock are protected and kept in the best of health for their journeys.

Read the Mecardo report here.

ENDS.

All media requests must be directed to WAFarmers Media and Communications Officer Melanie Dunn on (08) 9486 2100 or [email protected].

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