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Labor Confirms Plan to End Live Sheep Exports

Labor Confirms Plan to End Live Sheep Exports


Labor Confirms Plan to End Live Sheep Exports

Article by: Hari Yellina

Labor has confirmed that if it wins the federal election this month, Australia’s $92-million live sheep export sector will be shut down. For months, Labor’s shadow agriculture minister, Julie Collins, has failed to clarify whether the party intends to stop the live sheep trade, which was a campaign promise during the last election. A Labor official told the ABC today that the party would ban the practise, which they stated had been declining for more than 20 years. “An elected Albanese Labor administration will phase down live sheep exports in cooperation with the industry and the Western Australian government on what needs to happen with this decline,” according to the statement.

Labor promised to phase out the trade over five years before the 2019 election, but has remained tight-lipped about its plans since then. Labor’s representative did not provide a timetable for terminating the trade, but did say that the party supports “value-adding more here in Australia to create more job opportunities.” They would not make any modifications to the live cattle export trade, according to the spokesperson. Mark Harvey-Sutton, CEO of the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council, said Labor’s position was disappointing. “There are a variety of factors that influence cattle volume over time, including pricing and market supply,” he explained. “To refer to the industry as a fading industry undervalues its significance, both to our producers and to our trading partners.”

The Australian Alliance for Animals claimed earlier this week that Labor had already informed it of its post-election plans. The animal rights organisation was likewise dissatisfied. “They haven’t set a timescale on it,” spokesperson Jed Goodfellow said, “so it doesn’t effectively satisfy the policy we were putting to them of phasing out the trade within three years.” In 2020-21, Australia exported over 600,000 sheep, with Kuwait receiving more than half of them. The sheep were almost entirely shipped from Western Australia. In recent years, the Coalition government has tightened controls for sheep exporters, including enforcing a prohibition on exports during the summer months in the north.

Labor’s plan to ban the live sheep trade, according to Agriculture Minister David Littleproud, will “kill 3,000 jobs.” “Australian farmers have been given a taste of how they’ll be treated under an Albanese Labor government,” Mr Littleproud said, “hearing they’ve lost their livelihoods once activists are informed.” Mr Littleproud said during the election campaign in WA that any attempt to limit trade would jeopardise global food security and put Australian employment at risk. “There is still a desire for live animal exports, not just because of cultural reasons, but also because these countries lack cold storage facilities, posing a food security dilemma.”