Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Farmers slam live sheep shutdown: NSW Farmers Association

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NSW Farmers Association, Media Release, 11 May 2024

NSW Farmers has condemned the Federal Government’s catastrophic ban on live sheep exports by sea as it released a four-year plan to transition away from the live sheep trade today.

According to an announcement made by Federal Agriculture Minister Murray Watt today, Australia’s live sheep exports by sea trade will be phased out by 1 May 2028, with a meagre $107 million dollars in funding to be provided to demolish the industry.

NSW Farmers President Xavier Martin said the Federal Government had failed to appropriately consider all the farmers reliant on the industry in its plans, with rural communities and agricultural industries across Australia to suffer as a result.

“Live sheep exports by sea are a key component of our national sheep industry, and so the consequences of its demolition cannot be understated,” Mr Martin said.

“This industry is a fundamental market tool that enables farmers to manage livestock and uphold high standards of animal welfare through trying seasons, market failure and more – and so without it, many farmers will have some major problems on their hands.”

“The decision will also affect other commodities, given the industry’s influence on domestic demand for fodder and grain, and with this announcement made before industry could consider the so-called independent panel report and government response, it beggars belief that detail around the consequences the phase out to other agricultural sectors in other states remains unanswered.”

With just four years until the industry is phased out for good, Mr Martin said the Federal Government’s $107 million dollar transition package was drastically inadequate, with many sheep producers demoralised and facing ruin as a result of the phase out.

“While the transition package lightly touches on supports for domestic oversupply and processing, there is insufficient detail about how broader agriculture and processing industries will be supported, and so we have serious questions as to what this will do to help the situation at all.

“Time and time again, this Federal Government has failed Australia’s food and fibre producers – and now they are switching off markets for farmers, and food for hungry people.

“What’s next, and can we continue to feed and clothe the nation if the decision-making keeps deteriorating?”

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