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Prime Minister jokes while farmers despair over live sheep ban

The Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council said Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has continued his government’s detachment and displayed a galling lack of empathy for the Western Australian agriculture industry during a radio interview yesterday on 6PR.

 When asked about the Keep the Sheep campaign, the PM tried a tricky play on words, saying that he did indeed want to keep the sheep and that’s what his government is attempting to do by banning live exports, effectively dismissing the 56,000 signatories that have signed up in support of the campaign, eclipsing all petitions opposing the trade.

ALEC CEO Mark Harvey-Sutton said the Prime Minister had failed to read the room on the public’s support for the campaign and that his disdain for agriculture was plain to see in this latest interview.

“It’s bad enough that the farmers, truckies and communities in Western Australia have to put up with the current sham of an inquiry being conducted by the Labor-dominated House of Representatives committee. On top of this, they now have to listen to the PM poking fun at them, continuing to parrot activist talking points and repeatedly insinuate that the government’s “transition package” is generous,” he said.

“Overwhelming evidence has been presented to the government’s inquiry by agriculture groups about the devastating impact this ban will have. It will not create the thousands of jobs the government and their union and activist mates are touting,”

The Western Australian State Government has stated that a transition package would cost $123 million per year for 10 years. The Western Australian Meat Industry Authority gave evidence at the Muresk hearing last week that over $400 million in investments would be needed for processing facilities to successfully transition.

“It is economics 101 – if you remove competition from a market, there is less value in production. Less competition means farmers will walk away from sheep farming altogether, meaning less sheepmeat production. Not only is the PM taking an economic contribution away from WA, he and his government are wilfully driving into a policy that will ultimately increase prices on the supermarket shelf.”

Mr Harvey-Sutton said it takes a lot for farmers to get angry, but now they are being patronised by their own government and openly treated with contempt.

“Australians aren’t stupid. They can smell a dud policy when they see one and it’s not just farmers being treated with contempt. The Australian community is being lied to while rural communities are being devastated. This is no laughing matter, Mr Albanese.”



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