Legislation to end live sheep exports passes parliament

July 7, 2024 BY

Parliament has passed legislation to end the export of live sheep by sea. Photo: ALEC

THE federal Parliament has passed legislation to end the export of live sheep by sea, marking a significant step forward in animal welfare.

The law, supported by a $107 million transition support package, is set to take full effect by May 1, 2028.

Corangamite federal member Libby Coker said that for years now, residents across the Geelong region had called out the live sheep export trade, describing it as cruel and inhumane.

“This is especially true for locals in my electorate of Corangamite,” Ms Coker said.

“Since the people of Corangamite elected me as their representative in the federal government, they’ve been writing to my office, calling the trade ‘barbaric and disgusting’.”

“Many of them added their signatures to last year’s 40,000-strong petition calling for a phase-out of live sheep exports.”

“Through this petition and the many that came before, Australians have told government they want the trade to end, and the Albanese Labor government has listened.”

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt said the passage of the legislation fulfilled a longstanding commitment.

“Live sheep exports by sea from Australia have been plummeting over the past 20 years.

“It’s an industry that’s been in long-term decline with the evolution of global food supply chains, and it now represents less than 1 per cent of Western Australia’s agriculture sector.”

At the same time, demand for Australian lamb and mutton is soaring both domestically and internationally.

Mr Watt said that the future lies in high-value onshore processing rather than live exports.

“Our sheepmeat exports are worth $4.5 billion and the domestic industry worth $3.5 billion, while the live trade is worth just $77 million,” Mr Watt said.

“Enhancing demand for Australian sheep products here in Australia and in other international markets is a key component of our transition plan.

“I’m confident that the transition package will continue to take the sheep industry and the communities of Western Australia forward.”

Australian Livestock Exporters Council chief executive Mark Harvey said live sheep exporters were not pleased with the outcome.

“We have consistently said this policy, if implemented, would be crossing a red line.

“The sector is mobilised, united and furious.”

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