National Farmers' Federation

Labor’s live sheep export decision sets a dangerous precedent

Labor has revealed its plan to end Australia’s live sheep exports confirming what farmers and industry feared.

“On sheep exports, Labor isn’t prepared to be informed about the sector’s monumental improvements and the importance of the industry to producers, communities and Australia’s trading partners,” NFF President Fiona Simson said.

“They continue to beholden to a small, uninformed minority made up of radicals who invade farms and steal animals.”

Ms Simson said Australia’s live sheep exports needed to fundamentally improve and it had.

“Industry initiatives, regulatory reviews and research have all contributed to improved animal welfare outcomes. Shipments of sheep to the Middle East have been stopped by regulation during the hottest periods of the northern hemisphere summer.

“Disappointingly, instead of equipping themselves with the facts and listening and working with farmers and industry, Labor has copied and pasted their reckless policy from 2019 without any consideration for the 2022 context,” Ms Simson said.

“The policy is a massive blow to the farmers and communities who rely on sheep exports.

“It sends a shiver down the spine of all farmers about the precedent it sets. If live sheep exports can be so easily be written off, what’s next?”

Ms Simson said Australian farmers operated pursuant to world-leading animal welfare standards and through the research and development levy system, invested tens of millions of dollars in innovation and science to continually improve animal welfare outcomes.

“It’s industry who Labor should listen to when it comes to the welfare of farm animals, not city-based minority radicals.”

Ms Simson said this was Labor’s second only announcement related to agriculture in the campaign. The first was a decision to all but do away with the coveted Ag Visa, announced in a similarly sneaky manner.

“We’re at the half way mark of the campaign and Labor has a mountain to climb to demonstrate its credentials to support Australia’s almost $80 billion farm sector.

“The NFF’s discussions to date with Leader Anthony Albanese and agriculture spokesperson Julie Collins on the big issues confronting agriculture, unfortunately seem to have to fallen on deaf ears.

“We invite Mr Albanese, Ms Collins and any other member of the Labor team to actually visit a farm and see first hand how farmers operate.

“So far, there’s been crickets from Labor on climate and sustainability and its intersection with agriculture; water management and a bona fide plan for regional development.

“We wait.”

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