The Western Australian Farmers Federation (Inc.) (WAFarmers) is deeply concerned with the appointment of Kelvin Thomson, as Parliamentary Secretary for Trade, fearing it will have a detrimental effect on Australia’s live export industry.
Mr Thomson has long called for the trade to be phased out and has lead backbench revolts against the Gillard Government’s policy of supporting the industry.
WAFarmers Meat Section President, Jeff Murray, said WAFarmers was very familiar with Mr Thomson’s stance on live export and would continue to lobby for the expansion of the live export trade out of Western Australia.
“The live export trade is not only important to producers in the North West of Western Australia but also to the sheep and cattle producers in the agricultural region,” Mr Murray said.
“WAFarmers has been working with industry and the Federal Government for the last 18 months to ensure the continuation of the live export trade and we will be doing everything within our power to ensure this new appointment does not cause a set back the trade.
“Trade Minister, Hon Craig Emerson, has been very supportive of the industry and we will look for him to continue that work and not hand any responsibility for live exports to Mr Thomson, who is on the record as being opposed to the live export industry.”
Mr Thomson represents an inner city Melbourne electorate and has repeatedly demonstrated his lack of understanding of the importance of live export to Western Australian producers.
“Australia does more work in foreign markets to improve animal welfare than any country in the world and the fact is, live exports and the welfare of animals will be worse off without Australia’s leadership and experience.
“Mr Thomson now has some very serious responsibilities which directly affect the farmers of Western Australia and we will be contacting him to get an understanding of where and what he may be responsible for,” Mr Murray concluded.
WAFarmers is committed to a strong, viable live export trade and will continue to work with government, industry and exporters to ensure the continuation of the trade.