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Australian Livestock Exporters' Council opposes live sheep phase out

The Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council (ALEC) opposes the Labor Government’s moves toward banning the live sheep trade in Australia, following recent comments in Senate Estimates by the Federal Minister for Agriculture, Senator the Hon Murray Watt.

ALEC CEO, Mark Harvey-Sutton said the phase out policy was unwarranted and risked causing economic problems for Australia’s producers and their overseas trading partners.

“This policy is unnecessary, and we do not support it.”

“This is an industry that has reformed and supports thousands of workers in rural Western Australia and this move would threaten 3000 jobs within the supply chain locally.”

“This reform has been recognised by the Western Australian Premier and the Western Australian Agriculture Minister. The improvements the industry has made have been recognised and acknowledged by Minister Watt.

“There is clear evidence of this reform and Western Australian producers must be mortified that their industry is being dictated by an east coast agenda.”

“Stating that an industry should be shut down due to past social licence challenges is an alarming precedent that should concern every agricultural industry in Australia.”

“The industry’s performance has been outstanding and speaks for itself. The policy is unnecessary and fails to acknowledge the importance of the industry to the livestock supply chain of people and our trading partners,” said Mr Harvey-Sutton.

Forecasts for 2023 indicated that the industry would grow and that demand for high quality sheepmeat will continue in emerging markets.

“The industry continues to grow and quite simply it cannot be transitioned into other markets or industries. Competition in the market is important for growing Australia’s national sheep industry which yesterday recorded it highest numbers in 15 years – reaching 77 million.”

“Those sheep need markets and our trading partners continue to have a preference for livestock ahead of chilled and frozen meat. It is natural that they look for alternatives given the uncertainty this policy creates, but our industry knows that their preference remains to import Australian livestock due their quality and disease-free status. To say otherwise fails to recognise the dynamics of those markets and Australia’s longstanding partnership with them.

We continue to have a constructive working relationship with Minister Watt and we acknowledge that the Minister has given a commitment to make a decision based on science and evidence and in consultation with industry. We will be presenting evidence that the policy is unnecessary and that a transition to other markets is not possible in the forthcoming consultation process.”

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