News that a Labor Government would ban live sheep exports sent a shiver up the spines of every grazier in Australia.
There is absolutely no doubt that banning sheep exports would open the door to banning live cattle exports, crippling the $2 billion live export industry and the 10,000 jobs it supports.
Animal welfare is at the forefront of our live export trade.
We’ve banned the shipment of sheep to the Middle East during the Northern Hemisphere summer and the official mortality rate of sheep being transported is just 0.2% and dropping each year.
In cattle, it’s 0.1%.
Research is already being conducted into using cameras on ships to enhance monitoring of animals on their journey.
Animal health is the top consideration at every step of the supply chain, from the farm, to feedlots to the ship.
Participants in the live export trade are constantly scrutinised and face exclusion if they fail to meet the high standards set by industry.
Another consideration ignored by activists is that of the 100 countries exporting live animals, Australia has the highest standards in the world.
Not only that, we are the only country in the world that demands animal welfare standards from our customers.
So we are holding our own people to high standards, and we are exporting these standards around the world, training receiving countries to improve their own practices.
If Labor removes Australia from the world live export market, we are condemning animals in other countries to exceptionally poor outcomes.
After Labor banned live exports in 2011, the backlash from the beef and sheep industries was immense, but that hasn’t stopped the party from plotting to do it again.
The fact it was left up to animal activists to reveal Labor’s plans shows the live export ban was being orchestrated to avoid scrutiny before the election.
This policy by stealth is disgraceful and entirely in keeping with Labor’s campaign strategy of “we have a plan but we won’t tell you the details until you vote for us”.
Also concerning is Labor has planned the demise of live exports without consulting with industry, relying instead on the emotion-charged, biased arguments by activists.
Live export has enormous benefits for all of Australia, not just rural areas.
Townsville Port (pictured) is Australia’s largest live export hub, supporting hundreds of jobs in Australia’s unofficial northern capital.
Live exports also go through Darwin, Broome and Fremantle.
The northern cattle industry supports city-based transport companies and truck drivers, graziers spend their incomes in cities, and the taxes they pay benefit us all.
Primary production is hugely important for all of Australia, it’s sustainable and it’s in demand by scrupulous foreign customers, but Labor treats it like an afterthought.
Without a strong ag sector, Australia will go backwards, and that will affect everyone no matter where you live.
For Australian graziers, life certainly won’t be easy under Albanese…