Exports under threat from probe
The northern cattle industry faces major uncertainty after the Federal Government issued one of the region’s biggest live exporters with a show-cause notice.
International Livestock Exports, responsible for about 70 per cent of live exports from Broome, was given the notice because former Emanuel Exports boss Graham Daws is a major shareholder, so the two companies are considered to have an “association”.
Kimberley Pilbara Cattlemen’s Association chief executive Emma White said if the Government proceeded with further steps of suspending or cancelling ILE’s licence, the economic impact could be as devastating as the 2011 live export ban to Indonesia.
“It would have major ramifications for pastoralists, the whole industry and region,” Ms White said.
“Pastoralists are understandably extremely nervous at the moment.”
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources issued the show-cause notice upon concerns ILE could be influenced to supply Emanuel’s usual markets in the Middle East after cancelling Emanuel’s licence. ILE managing director Michael Stanton said his company responded to the notice by last Monday’s deadline with a 60-page submission.
The submission stated it was not possible for ILE to export sheep to the Middle East given the requirement for an approved export program to supply those markets, which would require approval by DAWR.
Mr Stanton said also supporting his company’s case was the requirement for any exporter to be part of the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System for those markets, which ILE was not, and would also require DAWR approval.
He said ILE had, as recently as July, sent a small number of fattailed sheep to the Middle East but had since closed that supply chain after the client ended its breeding business in WA. “While we are confident we have clearly demonstrated ILE cannot be influenced, this action by DAWR makes us nervous,” Mr Stanton said.
“We have 20,000 cattle in the system for our schedule of shipments.
“If we had to stop operating, this would cause major animal welfare issues and would not be in the best interest of the industry.”
ILE exports or arranges processing for about 130,000 cattle a year, most from the Kimberley and Pilbara, and are exported via Broome and Fremantle to South-East Asia.
“It supplies a small number of sheep to the same markets.”
Mr Stanton said ILE had made substantial capital investment in the northern region, including a major feedlot in Broome, and regularly bought “unmarketable” cattle before improving their quality.
The demise of Emanuel Exports, WA’s biggest live exporter, started with a show-cause notice in May after footage emerged of animals dying from heat aboard one of its ships on a voyage to the Middle East. Emanuel’s licence was suspended, then cancelled following an inquiry.
The licences for its subsidiary EMS Rural were also cancelled.
DAWR would not comment.
It would have major ramifications for . . . the whole industry and region. Emma White
Cattle at Broome on a live export ship bound for Indonesia.