Countryman - - FRONT PAGE - Zach Relph

The chief ex­ec­u­tive of Aus­tralia’s live­stock ex­port lobby group has stepped down af­ter just three months as fig­ure­head of a cam­paign to re­tain live sheep ship­ments to the Mid­dle East.

The Aus­tralian Live­stock Ex­porters’ Coun­cil told mem­bers this week that Brett Point­ing, a for­mer Queens­land Po­lice deputy com­mis­sioner, was “step­ping down due to a change in per­sonal cir­cum­stances”.

The Can­berra-based or­gan­i­sa­tion re­fused to elab­o­rate on the cir­cum­stances.

The live sheep sec­tor has grap­pled with ris­ing un­cer­tainty since footage of dead and heat­stressed sheep from Emanuel Ex­ports’ Awassi Ex­press voy­age to the Mid­dle East sur­faced on April 8.

The trade has been thrown into dis­ar­ray since the footage was re­leased, with Can­berra-based ALEC bat­tling an in­creas­ing po­lit­i­cal bat­tle to keep afloat the live sheep trade. Un­able to pin down a chief ex­ec­u­tive, it has been left to for­mer La­bor min­is­ter and power­bro­ker Si­mon Crean to head the in­dus­try cam­paign in his role as ALEC chair­man.

Mr Crean said Mr Point­ing, who only re­placed de­parted ALEC chief ex­ec­u­tive Si­mon West­away in Oc­to­ber, would leave at the end of Jan­uary and re­turn to Queens­land.

He said it was “a re­gret that Brett is leav­ing”.

“I un­der­stand that it is a de­ci­sion not taken lightly,” he said.

“How­ever, per­sonal cir­cum­stances change and we un­der­stand and sup­port Brett’s de­ci­sion. Brett joined ALEC in what is a chal­leng­ing time for the in­dus­try.”

Mr Point­ing will be suc­ceeded by the group’s pol­icy and reg­u­la­tory af­fairs man­ager Mark Har­veySut­ton, who has been pro­moted to the top po­si­tion.

Mr Har­vey-Sut­ton had pre­vi­ously worked as gen­eral man­ager of ru­ral af­fairs at the Na­tional Farm­ers’ Fed­er­a­tion and as a pol­icy di­rec­tor at the Cat­tle Coun­cil of Aus­tralia, be­fore join­ing ALEC last month. Mr Point­ing was ap­pointed af­ter Mr West­away re­vealed in Septem­ber he would not re­new the two-year con­tract he signed with ALEC in 2016.

It is un­der­stood Mr West­away had been re­luc­tant to move from Mel­bourne to be based in Can­berra full-time at ALEC’s head­quar­ters.

Pas­toral­ists and Gra­ziers As­so­ci­a­tion WA pres­i­dent Tony Seabrook was not con­cerned about Mr Point­ing’s de­par­ture and said it did not re­flect in­sta­bil­ity among ALEC’s hi­er­ar­chy.

“It isn’t an in­di­ca­tion of a ma­jor prob­lem, I don’t think so,” he said.

“But, it would be a great shame if Si­mon Crean was to ever walk away.”

Last month, the De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Water Re­sources re­leased an in­de­pen­dent heat­stress risk as­sess­ment draft re­port rec­om­mend­ing changes to ship­ping stan­dards en route to the Mid­dle East to bol­ster an­i­mal wel­fare reg­u­la­tions.

The raft of pro­pos­als in­cludes im­ple­ment­ing a 28C wet bulb tem­per­a­ture limit and ex­tend­ing the def­i­ni­tion of the north­ern hemi­sphere sum­mer from May to Oc­to­ber, in­stead of June to Au­gust.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from WA’s live sheep trade, in­clud­ing Mr Seabrook, have strongly op­posed the re­port.

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