A word from Steve
The Federal government’s proposal to ban live sheep exports is a concerning time for all involved in agriculture. As a heavily export focused sector, the concept of government banning a legitimate trade that has continued to demonstrate improvement in animal welfare and has met or exceeded all government-imposed targets, should cause concern for all.
While not traditionally involved in live export discussions, WoolProducers has certainly taken this proposed ban seriously and has been working with other industry bodies to fight against this policy, as we fully understand the ramifications that this decision will have on the Australian wool industry, particularly in the west.
While the government has commenced a consultation process on the phase out of this trade, they have said that this process is not for debating the merits or otherwise of this policy. However, given the far reaching direct and indirect ramifications of this decision, the ag sector is taking a unified position to oppose and change this policy. To be clear, we collectively believe it is better for all involved to reverse this ill-informed commitment than to seek compensation after the fact.
WoolProducers were also one of the 25 industry groups that have written to the Minister opposing the ban on the proposed ban and have participated in the group discussions convened by the Australian Live Export Council and Sheep Producers Australia, along with making representations to the Minister Watt’s Office of our continued support for the trade.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator the Hon Murray Watt, has appointed an independent panel to consult with stakeholders. The panel will provide advice on how and when the government will phase out live sheep exports by sea.
This Panel has met held stakeholder meetings in WA and are commencing consultations with peak industry bodies, including WoolProducers.
WoolProducers are also part of a working group convened to support farmers and other industry stakeholders to complete submissions around the live sheep phase out (using the "Have Your Say" mechanism on the department's website).
The consultation is open until 31 May, 2023 and it is so important that everyone from producers, shearers, livestock transporters, agents and brokers through to exporters takes the time to participate. This is the only opportunity that people can make their voice heard and we need both quality and quantity of submissions to counter the ill-informed animal activists form letters that will inundate this process.
There are two ways in which to provide submissions through this process, either by completing an online questionnaire, or by writing an uploading a submission. Both ways are done through the above link.
A consultation paper, also found on the department’s website, outlines the questions of which the panel is seeking information on. All written submissions should respond to the consultation paper, even if you don’t agree with the question, you can state that, but provide justification to support your position or opposition. It is also preferable to answer all questions if possible.
Submissions should focus on the impact to you, your business and/or your industry sector if the phase out policy was to be implemented. This should include flow on impacts to associated industries and regional economies.
It is also important to be factual and use real examples from your personal experience and business to support your submission.
We urge you all to take the time to participate in this process, regardless of where you are located and what sector of industry you operate in.