Coronavirus crisis: Live voyage stockies accreditation fast-tracked to plug worker shortfall

Zach RelphCountryman
LiveCorp confirmed this morning it had introduced an alternative pathway for accreditation of shipboard stockpersons.
Camera IconLiveCorp confirmed this morning it had introduced an alternative pathway for accreditation of shipboard stockpersons. Credit: Cally Dupe/Countryman

The live export body responsible for training onboard stock people has fast-tracked accreditation to ensure the live sheep and cattle trades are not short staffed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

LiveCorp confirmed this morning it had introduced an alternative pathway for accreditation of shipboard stockpersons.

It will require applicants to pass an exam and be endorsed by an exporter as having appropriate skills, such as commitment to good animal welfare outcomes and low stress livestock handling experience.

Under the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock, a stockperson accredited by LiveCorp must accompany every livestock voyage.

The fast-tracked accreditation comes as global travel restrictions amid the coronavirus outbreak has led to a short supply of accredited stockmen and stockwoman for exporters to fill voyages.

LiveCorp chief executive Sam Brown said the short-term accreditation process would underpin the trade’s continuity despite global travel restrictions due to COVID-19.

“It’s understandable that not everyone wants to leave the country, knowing they probably won’t be allowed off the ship at the other end to fly home,” he said.

“It means travelling back on the vessel, and facing up to 14 days of self-isolation when they arrive in Australia.

“At the same time, our trading partners are emphasising the importance of the live trade because passenger flights which often also carry chilled and frozen meat have been cut back.

“Unlike Australia, which produces enough food for three times our population, many of our customers overseas rely on imports for their food security.”

Stockperson accreditation will remain valid until September 30, subject to changes in approval from the regulator and advice on COVID-19, Mr Brown said.

Last week, Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council warned exporters were having difficulty attracting qualified staff onto voyages.

ALEC chairman David Galvin wrote to Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud and said movement measures had restricted crew members from disembarking at receival ports.

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