Election soothes producers’ concerns

Zach RelphCountryman
Sheep farmers across WA are welcoming the Federal election result.
Camera IconSheep farmers across WA are welcoming the Federal election result. Credit: Bob Garnant

The State’s live sheep trade has narrowly avoided its foreshadowed end after Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s unexpected Federal election victory, ending Labor’s bid to phase out the $210 million sector.

As the dust settles after the Coalition’s upset win, WA’s farmers are rejoicing that live sheep exports will continue under reduced stocking densities and a three-month northern summer hiatus from June 1 to August 31.

The result has been widely embraced by producers, including WAFarmers president Rhys Turton who said the agriculture industry had escaped Federal Labor’s threat to phase out live sheep exports within five years.

“There is a reprieve around the live exports,” he said.

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“It doesn’t assure live exports’ future but at least the industry can carry on with the regulations which it has agreed to.”

Labor’s “six-point plan” for animal welfare proposed phasing out the live sheep-shipping industry within five years to establish a domestic processing-focused market.

In the lead-up to the election, shadow agriculture minister Joel Fitzgibbon maintained the party would immediately end live sheep exports during the northern summer period.

Pastoralists and Graziers Association of WA president Tony Seabrook said the Federal election result provided some clarity to the State’s sheep producers.

“There is a great sense of relief and optimism for the future,” he said.

Producers are also looking towards the Morrison Government’s $10 million plan, bringing students from classrooms to paddocks to improve food production education.

The $10 million farming education commitment is part of Mr Morrison’s $30.9 million agriculture package. It includes a $220,000 injection to promote agriculture as a study option.

National Farmers’ Federation president Fiona Simson congratulated Mr Morrison and Nationals leader Michael McCormack on the re-election.

“We trust the Government will continue to pursue an ambitious trade agenda and look forward to together, continuing to work on fixing agriculture’s labour shortages,” she said.

Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud was returned to his Maranoa seat in Queensland, while Mr Fitzgibbon retained the Hunter electorate in New South Wales for Labor.

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