AGRICULTURE Minister David Littleproud has signed a regulation today ending the threat of a court injunction stopping live export ships from leaving port.
The concern was an activist group could lodge a court injunction against the independent regulator of live exports, the Australian Department of Agriculture.
The opportunity to lodge an injunction against a live export shipment will now be brought forward to when the regulator approves an exporter’s intent to send an export ship. Some had said an injunction against the regulator could see sheep stuck on a ship.
“I thank Tony York and WA Farmers for their leadership on this issue,” Mr Littleproud said.
“Their constructive conversations on behalf of their industry over the past weeks, including last week when I was in Perth, really show what can be achieved with an honest, constructive attitude.
“While I don’t believe the injunction issue was a serious barrier to an exporter genuine about sending a ship, the Australian Livestock Exporters Council had raised the issue and we want to remove this perceived barrier to the trade. We acted.”
Mr Littleproud said it was now the turn of ALEC members to act.
“They have always said they’re the best in the world,” Mr Littleproud said.
“They’ve said they can export sheep to the Middle East through the northern summer without incident and now it’s time to show us.
“There’s been a coordinated campaign by some to try to force the government to roll back animal welfare requirements by blaming it for the fact that no ships have left since a big exporter was suspended and by attacking the McCarthy Review.
“Some have suggested the stocking density reduction makes the trade unviable, despite the fact Emanuel was ready to export before having its licence suspended by the independent regulator. Emanuel was the only company to take sheep through the Persian Gulf to the Middle East last northern summer.”
Mr Littleproud said there would be no compromise on animal welfare.
“The trade is open and will remain so,” Mr Littleproud said.
“Exporters say they can do this and do it right. Now is the time to prove it.”