The National Farmers’ Federation has warned a consultation panel assessing the phase-out of live sheep exports that Australia’s status as a favoured food exporter will suffer should the ban proceed.
In a submission to the consultation process, made public today, the NFF has named broader trade impacts among several reasons the phase-out plan must be scrapped.
“We’re an exporting nation, and one of the strongest global voices for free and open agricultural trade,” said NFF President, Fiona Simson.
“If we start arbitrarily shutting down export markets it sends an awful message to our customers overseas.
“We export over 70% of what we produce, and we’re Australia’s second largest export industry, so the broader ramifications of this need to be weighed up,” Ms Simson said.
The NFF’s submission also outlines steps taken in recent years to meet community expectations.
“The live export industry has gone above and beyond to meet community expectations. We have the world’s best assurance framework to care for animals right through to processing in-market.
“Australia stepping back from its global leadership in this space would be a backward step for animal welfare.”
The submission also points to the economic damage the ban would create – felt most acutely in Western Australia.
“We’re talking about significant job losses along the supply chain, and a long term hit for communities, particularly in WA.
“It’s a reckless economic own-goal at a time when we’re teetering on the brink of a recession. And we’re not talking about something off in the distance. The uncertainty this policy is creating is having real impacts right now.”
With formal submissions now closed, farmers are calling on the Government to urgently re-think its policy as the evidence mounts.
“It’s only responsible that in light of overwhelming feedback and evidence, the Government take this opportunity to correct its position. It should do that urgently to restore confidence to the industry in WA.”
To read the NFF’s submission in full, click here.