MORE than 4000 people have had their say on the proposed phaseout of live sheep exports by sea from Australia with a report on their feedback due in three months.
A Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry spokesperson said the independent panel appointed to consult with stakeholders on the phase-out has conducted more than 80 face-to-face and virtual meetings with industry and stakeholders since March.
This has included with government representatives from Australia’s trading partners, as well as with export businesses, the spokesperson said.
All feedback is being considered by the independent panel, which is now preparing a report for the Minister. The panel has been requested to present its report and recommendations to the Minister by 30 September 2023.
The independent panel completed its public consultations last week. It was appointed by Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Senator Murray Watt to provide advice on how and when the Australian Government can give effect to a phase out of live sheep exports by sea.
The panel is considering:
- Potential mechanisms to phase out live sheep exports by sea.
- A suggested timeframe and options for implementation.
- Potential ways to support the transition, including but not limited to consideration of markets, processing facilities and other opportunities.
Since March, the panel has received more than 4100 submissions including more than 800 written submissions and more than 3300 survey responses. To supplement this input, the panel is also obtaining specialist economic advice.
The Australian Government has committed to not implementing the phase out during this term of parliament, providing time for farmers and industry participants to prepare for the transition away from the live sheep by sea trade.
The panel held meetings, both public and targeted, in Western Australia in March, April and June. The panel’s final round of Western Australia public meetings concluded this week after visiting Geraldton, Merredin, Kondinin, Lake Grace, Darkan and Perth.
Public virtual forums were hosted by the panel over two days in May. Further details of the panel and its work is available on the department’s website.