Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie is keeping the pressure on the Government to ban long-haul live sheep exports by introducing her own Private Member’s Bill into the Parliament.
Today she introduced the Animal Export Legislation Amendment (Ending Long-haul Live Sheep Exports) Bill 2018which mirrors the compromise Private Member’s Bill first introduced by the Liberal Member for Farrer Sussan Ley earlier this year.
A version of that Bill was blocked by the new Morrison Government in September when Ms Ley, now an Assistant Minister, and other Coalition MPs (publicly supportive of the ban in the past) voted against the legislation when it came down from the Senate.
“That decision was a blow but with the numbers so tight in the House of Representatives I believe we have another chance of phasing out live sheep exports – if the Coalition MPs previously supportive of this policy show the courage of their conviction,” Rebekha said.
“It’s been eight months since that horrific footage of dead and dying sheep on long-haul voyages to the Middle East was shown on the 60 Minutes program and still no meaningful action has been taken by the Government.
“Their own internal review showed the Government’s regulatory authority failed to regulate the industry and the Australian people have lost faith in the Government’s ability to regulate an industry which appears to have an operating model built on animal suffering.
“My Bill is a reflection of the Member for Farrer’s Bill which was a hard-fought, reasoned compromise and it gives the Government the opportunity to act on an issue which has galvanised the Australian people to a degree that cannot be ignored.”
Rebekha said the long-haul live sheep export industry was in decline and phasing it out with appropriate support for farmers and meat processors in Australia was the way of the future.
“Long-haul live sheep exports account for only six per cent of our sheep and lamb off-take, and is supported predominantly by rapidly unwinding subsidies from Middle Eastern Governments,” Rebekha said.
“Ninety-nine per cent of consumers in the Gulf have refrigeration and every Middle Eastern country accepts Australian halal slaughter.
“My Bill should not be perceived as a threat, but as the impetus and opportunity to develop a supporting package of measures that help that six per cent transition away from long-haul live sheep export, and to support jobs, farmers, and humanely regulated abattoirs in Australia.
“The opportunities for reinvigorated and Australian standard abattoirs in my own electorate of Mayo, such as the current potential in Normanville, can be mirrored in Western Australia and elsewhere.”