MORE than half of Australians want the live export industry phased out within two years, the Greens say as the party declares it will use its balance of power to push Labor further on animal welfare.
Labor has vowed to phase out the live sheep export industry, claiming it has lost its social licence, but no action will be taken during this term of government.
The Greens say the findings of a survey commissioned by the party show the community expected action now.
The survey found 26 per cent of Australians believe that there should be an immediate ban on live export, 32 per cent believe it should be phased out within 2 years, 24pc wanted a five years or longer phase out, while 17pc did not want industry shut down.
Greens Senator and the party's animal welfare spokesperson Mehreen Faruqi said her party would use its balance of power position in the Senate "to push Labor further and faster".
"It's good to see the new government actually has an animal welfare platform, but it was a low bar and after a decade of inaction we have to make up for a lot of time," Senator Faruqi said.
"We welcome the phase out. The Greens will be holding the government to account to get that implemented without any delays."
Agriculture Minister Murray Watt said the government intended to phase out live sheep exports, but would do so in an orderly way after consulting the industry.
"We will consult on how we implement the commitment and over what time frame, because we want to seize opportunities to create more export dollars and regional jobs, especially through more onshore meat processing," he said.
The Greens will keep campaigning to end the live cattle industry, Senator Faruqi said, but the Agriculture Minister made it clear the sector was off limits
"It's an important export earner, it's an important job creator and it plays a role in delivering food security in our region," Senator Watt said.
Senator Faruqi said her party also supported the government's commitment to a "long overdue" animal welfare authority by creating the Inspector-General of Animal Welfare.
But once again, the Greens believe the policy does not go far enough and are concerned Labor is already backtracking on the promise by folding the new office into the existing Inspector-General on Live Exports.
"What we really need is an independent officer specifically for animal welfare, not just for export animals, and it should be housed outside the Department of Agriculture to avoid any potential conflicts of interest," Senator Faruqi said.