A delegation from WAFarmers, supported by the National Farmers’ Federation, has today met with Hon. Sussan Ley MP to discuss the future of the live export trade.
WAFarmers President Tony York said the group, comprising of himself, WAFarmers Livestock Section President David Slade, Chief Executive Officer Trent Kensett-Smith, and NFF Chief Executive Officer Tony Mahar, delivered the latest industry data to Ms Ley, ahead of her planned private member’s bill to Parliament.
“In this meeting we aimed to present the most holistic view of the industry and highlight the importance of the trade to Western Australia in particular, given its representation of 85 per cent of the national live export trade,” he said.
“Having presented the WA perspective, we believe Ms Ley now has a greater understanding of how the trade affects our farmers and the larger economy; however, there is some way to go in demonstrating the widespread repercussions that a cessation of the live export trade would have.”
Mr York said Ms Ley was very generous with her time, and showed a genuine interest in learning how the trade impacts Western Australia.
“While we understand that Ms Ley is still determined to present a private member’s bill and will be suggesting a phase-out period for live export, she showed a genuine appreciation for our efforts in working towards upholding live export animal welfare standards, and was accepting of the Mecardo economic impact report we commissioned,” he said.
“This is undoubtedly an issue affecting the whole of the Australian live sheep export trade, and as an industry we are all heading in the same direction in striving to uphold strict live export animal welfare standards.
“We can only hope that through continued engagement with industry and with consideration of the findings from the Federal Government’s review, that the best outcomes for the live export trade in conjunction with the highest standards of animal welfare can be realised.”
Mr York said the issue of live export was deeply emotive, and required strong collaboration across industry and government.
“Anyone who has seen recent media reports on animal welfare issues would argue that urgent improvements are required so that the highest standards of live export animal welfare practices can be upheld, and that regulators and inspectors need to be held to account in maintaining these standards,” he said.
“Together with the National Farmers’ Federation and other industry bodies, we will continue to push as hard as possible to ensure all livestock are protected and kept in the best of health for their journeys.”