Contractor’s poll-day fear on live export future
“It’s hard not to get upset when your whole life is on the line.”
That is the harrowing state-of-mind that Corrigin hay contractor Corey Weguelin is struggling to deal with, while sweating on the outcome of the May 18 Federal election.
The survival of Mr Weguelin’s business, Millden Hay, is dependent on WA’s live export industry, with most of its income coming from baling straw to be processed into pellets for sheep feed aboard livestock carriers.
With Federal Labor standing firm on its pledge to phase-out the trade within five years, if elected, the self-confessed work addict is fearing the death of his business.
“If Labor do that, it is the end of our business ... it will not be viable for our business to continue,” Mr Weguelin said.
“With where we are at now, we will lose everything. I am not talking tractors and machinery, I’m talking house, the whole nine yards, it will send us broke, basically.
“It is pretty hard to deal with, really.”
Mr Weguelin operates the family-owned Millden Hay alongside wife Katherine, with the help of one casual employee, to support their four children aged 10, 4, 2 and six months.
The 30-year-old former boilermaker admits he is no stranger to toiling long hours to cut hay and also bale straw for Williams-based feedstock supplier Macco Feeds Australia’s stock pellet production.
Mr Weguelin said Labor’s live export policy was too city-focused and failed to consider potential ramifications for rural Australia.
Federal Labor intends to phase out live sheep exports by 2024 and transition to a domestic processing industry.
Shadow agriculture minister Joel Fitzgibbon announced Labor’s “six-point plan” for animal welfare on April 30, confirming the party’s plan to nail the live sheep trade’s coffin shut.
Mr Fitzgibbon did not respond to questions on how Labor planned to aid businesses dependent on the live industry, if it banned the trade, before Countryman went to print on Tuesday.
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