Cross­benchers unite in push to end live ex­ports

Tasmanian Country - - THE STOCK REPORT -

EM­BOLD­ENED cross­bench MPsin Can­berra are pres­sur­ing two Liberal min­is­ters to sup­port phas­ing out long-haul live sheep ex­ports within five years.

This week the live-ex­port in­dus­try an­nonced Aus­tralian sheep will no longer travel to the Mid­dle East dur­ing the next north­ern hemi­sphere sum­mer sea­son.

Rev­e­la­tions thou­sands of sheep had died in hot con­di­tions on a voy­age to the Mid­dle East caused out­rage na­tion­ally ear­lier this year and prompted the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment to in­tro­duce new reg­u­la­tions on live ex­port ves­sels.

Cen­tre Al­liance MP Re­bekha Sharkie in­tro­duced a bill to par­lia­ment on Mon­day, mir­ror­ing leg­is­la­tion ear­lier moved by Liberal MP Sus­san Ley and sec­onded by par­ty­room col­league Sarah Hen­der­son be­fore they were both pro­moted to the min­istry.

“You had the gump­tion to come in here and in­tro­duce a bill that you be­lieved in,” Ms Sharkie told Par­lia­ment.

“I note that both mem­bers now have min­istries, I hope that’s not the rea­son for their change of mind and change of heart.”

Ms Ley and Ms Hen­der­son op­pose the trade but their el­e­va­tion to the Coali­tion front­bench means they must vote with the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s po­si­tion to re­form live ex­ports.

The Liberal MPs have com­mit­ted to ag­i­tat­ing for a change in Coali­tion pol­icy to end live sheep ex­ports.

New in­de­pen­dent MP Ker­ryn Phelps said the pro­posed five-year phase-out to the sheep trade would give the time to boost meat pro­cess­ing in Aus­tralia to cre­ate jobs and ex­port op­por­tu­ni­ties for chilled meat.

“The live sheep ex­port in­dus­try has had plenty of chance to lift its game and in my view is be­yond Dr Phelps said.

“It is shock­ing and cruel that these an­i­mals spend weeks in ex­treme heat and over­crowded con­di­tions with many dy­ing on the way to their des­ti­na­tion.”

Tas­ma­nian in­de­pen­dent An­drew Wilkie, the Mem­ber for Deni­son, in­tro­duced his own leg­is­la­tion that would end all live ex­ports of sheep and cat­tle within three years.

Mr Wilkie’s leg­is­la­tion would also and put tougher safe­guards on the in­dus­try in the mean­time.

“There is sys­temic cru­elty in the live an­i­mal ex­port trade re­demp­tion,” and the only way to end the cru­elty is to end the trade,” Mr Wilkie said.

From June 1 next year no ship­ments of Aus­tralian sheep will de­part any Aus­tralian port for the Mid­dle East dur­ing the pe­riod of the high­est risk of heat stress dur­ing the north­ern sum­mer.

“This is about main­tain­ing and grow­ing a strong, vi­able nine-month-a-year live sheep trade and, more broadly, se­cur­ing the fu­ture of Aus­tralia’s live­stock ex­port in­dus­try,” Aus­tralian Live­stock Ex­porters’ Coun­cil chair­man Si­mon Crean said. RE­SEARCH into the de­vel­op­ment of a fly­strike vac­cine tar­get­ing the Aus­tralian sheep blowfly has been given a $2.5 mil­lion boost.

Aus­tralian Wool In­no­va­tion an­nounced the four-year in­vest­ment in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Univer­sity of Melbourne and the CSIRO.

Fly­strike is es­ti­mated to cost the Aus­tralian sheep and wool in­dus­try more than $173 mil­lion an­nu­ally in man­age­ment and lost pro­duc­tion.

AWI gen­eral man­ager for re­search Jane Lit­tle­john said the pro­ject was aimed to de­liver an ad­vanced fly­strikepre­ven­tion tool, re­duc­ing the use and reliance on chem­i­cal in­sec­ti­cides and po­ten­tially of­fer­ing a re­place­ment to the cur­rent prac­tice of mulesing.

The work in­cludes a de­tailed study of blowfly pop­u­la­tions dur­ing the next three fly­strike sea­sons na­tion­ally.

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