Farmers wait for opportunities

Brad ThompsonThe West Australian
Australian cattle and sheep exporters are yet to send stock to Lebanon, Iran, Cambodia or China.
Camera IconAustralian cattle and sheep exporters are yet to send stock to Lebanon, Iran, Cambodia or China. Credit: The West Australian

A senior figure in WA’s live export industry has blasted the Federal Government for making hollow claims about opening new markets for sheep and cattle.

Graham Daws said a lack of political will was holding back attempts to resume live exports to Saudi Arabia, a market with the capacity to import more than a million sheep a year and substantial numbers of cattle.

“I am frustrated because the Government has been banging on about the markets they have opened, but they haven’t opened anything,” he said. “They have just agreed on health protocols.”

Mr Daws, a director of Emanuel Exports and International Livestock Export, said markets remained closed until industry could satisfy the requirements of Australia’s exporter supply chain assurance system.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.


Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has trumpeted the “opening” of seven export markets since 2013 — Lebanon, Egypt, Bahrain, Iran, Cambodia, Thailand and China.

There have been no exports to Lebanon, Iran, Cambodia or China. Egypt had imported about 28,000 cattle and 31,000 sheep to the end of last month. Bahrain had imported close to 445,000 sheep valued at $47.7 million and Thailand had imported 5356 cattle valued at $5.2 million.

Mr Daws said exports of slaughter and feeder cattle to China would start soon in a boost for the industry, but other markets remained in limbo.

Industry leaders met Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council chairman Simon Crean and chief executive Alison Penfold in Perth this week to discuss a range of issues, including administrative costs associated with ESCAS.

Mr Daws said the industry was being buried under a mountain of paperwork at a time when it was struggling to pass on higher domestic sheep and cattle prices to overseas customers.

“We, at this stage, can’t see any relief at all in the cost of all the paperwork and it is making the the industry less and less viable,” he said.

Ms Penfold said ALEC was confident of a breakthrough on exports to Saudi Arabia despite sovereignty issues surrounding ESCAS.

“We are not going to leave it to Government to resolve this. We are driving efforts to find a solution,” she said.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails