Federal Election 2019: Labor pledges immediate northern summer live export ban

Zach RelphCountryman
Labor says it will spend $1 million a year on an independent inspector-general of live exports to oversee animal welfare standards on livestock vessels.
Camera IconLabor says it will spend $1 million a year on an independent inspector-general of live exports to oversee animal welfare standards on livestock vessels. Credit: WA News

Labor has promised to immediately ban Australian live sheep exports during the northern summer period if it wins power in a bid to advance its plan to phase-out the industry within five years.

Speaking at the Rural Press Club of Victoria today, agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon revealed Labor’s “six-point plan” for animal welfare, which includes ending the live export trade.

Mr Fitzgibbon said live sheep exports were not in Federal Labor’s long-term vision, with the party committed to transitioning the sector to be solely domestic processing.

“To leave consumers in no doubt we will act when we see intractable animal cruelty, the six-point plan also reaffirms our decision to phase-out the live sheep export trade,” he said.

“We’ve already seen how turning a blind eye to systemic cruelty damages our reputation, fuels community concern, and allows a small few to make economic rents at the expense of those doing the right thing.”

Under a Bill Shorten-led government, Labor says it will spend $1 million a year on an independent inspector-general of live exports to oversee animal welfare standards on livestock vessels.

It also includes renewing the animal welfare strategy, reviewing the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System, providing quarterly reports on live export markets and re-establishing State and Territory welfare co-operation.

Mr Fitzgibbon said he was hopeful the animal welfare strategy would allow Australian agriculture to become a $100 billion industry over the next decade.

“We have a choice to make, we can stay on the current path to moderate success or worse, or we can choose the smarter road to higher and sustainable agribusiness incomes,” he said.

“If given the chance, a Shorten Labor Government will encourage the second option and provide the guidance the sector needs to secure that $100 billion number by 2030.”

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