Country WA would be decimated by live export ban, PGA warns Labor

Zach RelphCountryman
Alannah MacTiernan says the industry needs to explore new markets.
Camera IconAlannah MacTiernan says the industry needs to explore new markets. Credit: The West Australian

Regional WA will suffer without the live export industry’s economic injection if processed meat replaces the trade and traditional markets cease to purchase Australian produce, a pastoral buff says.

Pastoralists and Graziers Association president Tony Seabrook said open markets underpinned the nation’s economy, while addressing delegates at the organisation’s convention last Thursday.

Mr Seabrook said Federal Labor’s threatened live export ban within five years of being elected could cripple the State’s rural communities.

“There is no doubt that a ban on live export will cause massive economic damage throughout WA, decimating both the agricultural and pastoral industries,” he said.

“Many are saying we should process our animals here — this is not a viable option.

“If you put aside the fact that our markets demand live animals for practical reasons, such as lack of refrigeration, then there is still associated costs to them such as labour.

“A simple comparison of cattle slaughter costs in Australia of $300/head versus $25/head in Indonesia, the issue becomes clearer.”

On September 22, the Maysora departed from Fremantle Port carrying about 22,000 wethers for Livestock Shipping Services.

It was the first time a vessel left WA with live sheep since June 6.

Mr Seabrook said Australia was at risk of missing new export opportunities to emerging markets if the live export halt was not rectified.

WA Agricultural Minister Alannah MacTiernan, also a keynote speaker at the event, said the industry needed to explore new markets.

“Whether it’s live export, whether it’s carcase, whether it’s fully boned; let’s keep an open mind,” she said.

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

Sign up for our emails