Truck­ing firms’ fears grow

Countryman - - LIVE EXPORT - Zach Relph

Owner-op­er­a­tor truck­ing com­pa­nies de­pen­dent on the live ex­port in­dus­try will face ex­tinc­tion if Fed­eral La­bor gains power and ends live sheep and cat­tle voy­ages, ac­cord­ing to a WA trans­port fig­ure.

The Bill Shorten-led Op­po­si­tion has threat­ened to phase out sheep and cat­tle live ex­ports within five years of gain­ing power, if elected at the next Fed­eral elec­tion.

Ru­ral and Live­stock Trans­port As­so­ci­a­tion WA pres­i­dent Andy Ja­cob de­tailed a grim fu­ture for the State’s road live­stock car­ri­ers if the warn­ing come to fruition.

Mr Ja­cob said owner-op­er­a­tors had been se­verely af­fected by the on­go­ing live­stock move­ment lull dur­ing the north­ern sum­mer trad­ing halt and were at risk of go­ing un­der if live an­i­mal ship­ments ceased.

“We have se­ri­ous con­cerns look­ing for­ward with what could hap­pen to the sheep and cat­tle trade,” he said.

“(If La­bor gains power) it will wipe owner-op­er­a­tors out.

“With­out the live ex­port trade, all ser­vice providers will strug­gle.”

RLTA has found a live sheep would be car­ried about 31⁄2 times by the time it reached Fre­man­tle Port, while a sheep en route to a WAbased abat­toir would be car­ried about 11⁄2 times.

Shadow agri­cul­tural min­is­ter Joel Fitzgib­bon ac­knowl­edged the trans­port sec­tor had been im­pacted by the live sheep trade dilemma.

He said a Shorten gov­ern­ment, if elected, would aid owner-op­er­a­tors through a “five-year tran­si­tion” un­der its plan to phase out live ex­ports.

“Let’s hope they sur­vive long enough un­der this Gov­ern­ment so that a fu­ture La­bor Gov­ern­ment can work with them un­der an or­derly five-year tran­si­tion,” he said.

Ru­ral Ex­port and Trad­ing WA is pre­par­ing to ship about 130,000 sheep to Kuwait on-board its two car­ri­ers Al Shuwaikh and Al Mes­si­lah this month, af­ter gain­ing li­cence ap­proval on Oc­to­ber 18.

Mr Ja­cob wel­comed RETWA’s live ex­port li­cence ap­proval, but said it was im­per­a­tive voy­ages to the Mid­dle East re­sumed in full to guar­an­tee owner-op­er­a­tor’s longevity.

“We have had four months where noth­ing has hap­pened and it’s had a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact,” Mr Ja­cob said.

“There are half-a-dozen busi­nesses that are un­cer­tain about their vi­a­bil­ity by Christ­mas if the in­dus­try stays in its cur­rent state.

“RETWA be­ing back in the game is ex­cit­ing and good, but go­ing for­ward it is any­one’s guess with vol­umes and how the trade is go­ing to go.”

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