WA, federal governments at odds over live sheep exports ban plan


“WA farmers are already struggling with drought conditions and that's why I'm calling on the Commonwealth to do more to help our farming families, especially at a time when they need it most.”

The comments were echoed by WA Agriculture and Food Minister Jackie Jarvis, who said the phasing out would negatively affect regional communities and the livelihoods of many.

Modeling shows the decision would cost the industry more than $123 million each year, with up to 400 regional jobs at risk.

Opposition Leader Shane Love warned, however, that figure was likely to reach into the thousands if the entire supply chain was considered, calling the announcement a “dark day” for Australian sheep farmers.

WA Opposition Leader Shane Love and Agriculture Spokesperson Peter Rundle.Credit: Jesinta Burton

Love was particularly scathing in his criticism of Watt's decision, after WA stakeholders were briefed via an online meeting just hours before the federal minister faced the press.

“It's a foolish act by a minister who kept his mission secret to himself for as long as possible before rumors began to circulate about his trip to Western Australia,” he said.

“It's a low act by a person who has consistently refused to engage meaningfully with the agricultural industry here.”

Head of Eungai and Jaloran Merino studs, James McLagan, from WA's Wheatbelt, said the industry was struggling financially in the face of record low rainfall and rising feed costs and the decision would only further compromise food security of the state.

“[Watt] he doesn't give a damn about the working families here and those who are around the kitchen table at night: he showed that today,” he said.

“In the short time he has been in government he has managed to reduce trust to zero.

“A product that was worth 250 years ago is now worth no more than $5, and that has become a burden on me and all other sheep farmers who are trying to find money to maintain the standard of care these animals, but we will.”

National leader David Littleproud has already pledged to maintain the live sheep trade if he wins government at the next election.

Meanwhile, the Greens have celebrated the announcement, declaring it a victory for whistleblowers and animal welfare.

Get the day's breaking news, entertainment ideas and a long read to enjoy. Sign up to receive our evening edition newsletter.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *