Industry representative body Sheep Producers Australia says it will wait for the recommendations from the McCarthy Review into the Middle Eastern summer sheep trade, due in two weeks, before taking a position on the future of live sheep exports.
SPA’s comments come in the wake of yesterday’s announcement, from Federal Labor’s Agricultural Spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon, that his party would ban live sheep exports after a winding-down period.
“The McCarthy Review has been instigated to provide evidence-based advice for industry on where improvements could be made,” SPA chairman Chris Mirams said.
“SPA has committed to waiting until the review takes place and then discussing any recommendations made with its members and other stakeholders to determine the best path forward.”
The 60 Minutes program aired footage sheep tightly penned on ships, panting and in distress, and mired in their own waste.
Mr Mirams said since then the industry had made substantial changes made by exporters, which SPA wholeheartedly supports.”
He is “deeply disturbed” at by Labor’s proposed ban.
“SPA is calling for a calm and meaningful response from decision-makers,” Mr Mirams said.
“The trade is a major component of many producers’ businesses, regional communities and workers who rely on the industry for their livelihood.
“We have an industry filled with professional and innovative producers building their farms and contributing to vibrant rural and regional communities. Decision-makers must think in terms of how banning the trade will impact them.
“All decisions regarding how the trade will be conducted in future must be underpinned by robust research on long-term economic and social impacts.”
In the wake of the 60 Minutes footage Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud announced the Moss Review into the capability, culture and investigative powers of the independent regulator within the Department of Agriculture, which is also ongoing.