Truck­ies lose work amid ban dis­sen­sion

Countryman - - NEWS - Jenne Bram­mer

Some WA truck drivers who cart live­stock have not worked for three weeks and are un­likely to get a job for sev­eral months, in the wake of WA’s two largest live sheep ex­port com­pa­nies stop­ping their op­er­a­tions.

Live­stock and Ru­ral Trans­port As­so­ci­a­tion WA pres­i­dent Andy Ja­cob said his in­dus­try was in tur­moil af­ter WA’s big­gest ex­porter Emanuel Ex­ports had its li­cence tem­po­rar­ily sus­pended, and the sec­ond-largest, Live­stock Ship­ping Ser­vices, vol­un­tar­ily with­drew from the north­ern sum­mer mar­ket.

“We have guys driv­ing live­stock car­ri­ers who have not had a job for three weeks now,” he said.

“The re­al­ity is they are un­likely to get a job for an­other three or so months. It’s very dis­tress­ing for these peo­ple who still need to get food on the ta­ble.”

LRTA has 94 mem­bers, rang­ing from owner op­er­a­tors to larger fleet busi­nesses, oper­at­ing sev­eral hun­dred trucks.

Mr Ja­cob said the to­tal live ex­port in­dus­try, in­clud­ing both cat­tle and sheep, ac­counted for up to 48 per cent of all stock road move­ments in WA, so if there was a to­tal ban, his in­dus­try could al­most halve.

As an owner-op­er­a­tor, Mr Ja­cob said 85 per cent of his own in­come was de­rived from ser­vic­ing the live­stock in­dus­try, so his own busi­ness model would col­lapse amid a ban. “Many other car­ri­ers are in the same sit­u­a­tion. It’s a real cri­sis and peo­ple are ex­tremely wor­ried for their liveli­hoods,” he said.

“Live­stock car­ri­ers sup­port pos­i­tive an­i­mal wel­fare and are dis­ap­pointed by the tele­vi­sion footage, but we know that’s not the in­dus­try stan­dard.”

Un­cer­tainty lev­els are so high that mem­bers had stopped in­vest­ing in new equip­ment.

“Within the past four weeks, I know of at least seven WA can­cel­la­tions of new live­stock crates — worth about $430,000 each — or­dered from trailer man­u­fac­tur­ers,” Mr Ja­cob said.

Mean­while, WA’s big­gest pro­ducer of live­stock feed pel­lets for sheep, Macco Feeds, in Wil­liams, faces lay­ing off about half of its 20strong work­force in com­ing months.

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