A decision on whether to reopen the live sheep export trade is expected this week with exporters attacking the Federal Government over the data it is using to make its call. It comes as former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce said lifting the ban would boost the WA economy. The West Australian can reveal that lobbyists LiveCorp have complained to the Government over the fact it is using temperatures from Qatar to decide whether the ban on exports to the Middle East should be lifted when sheep are not currently being sent there. The department announced in May a ban on Middle East exports from June to August because of concerns about the impact of summer temperatures on sheep welfare but is debating whether to extend it to September. In a confidential submission to the department, obtained by The West Australian, LiveCorp criticised the Government for using temperatures from Qatar’s capital Doha in its discussion paper. “The majority of Australian sheep shipped to the Gulf are, however, destined for Kuwait, not Doha,” LiveCorp wrote. “Doha is about 20 per cent hotter than Kuwait.” Industry sources said it was unlikely there would be sheep exports to Qatar in the next two years given it was demolishing and rebuilding its slaughterhouse and Australian trade there had slowed significantly. LiveCorp also warned that a trade prohibition was “the bluntest of all regulatory instruments” and an extension would push WA sheep prices down and be “potentially profound” given about 140,000 sheep were exported from WA in September to the Middle East. Mr Joyce said he believed it was vital live exports restarted. “If we put further caveats and restrictions on the sale of sheep meat then we really are putting caveats and restrictions on the prosperity of the sheep and wool industry,” Mr Joyce said. “We’re doing it (exporting) in a humane way, mortality rate is at record lows, don’t put any more restrictions on us, please.” He said the department should admit it used Qatar in its heat modelling when sheep were not shipped there. A department spokesman defended using the Qatar temperature figures. “Our understanding is that the Qatar feedlot will be replaced with a new facility and that Australia will continue to supply sheep to Qatar once the trade resumes,” the spokesperson said.