AN extension has been granted to the independent panel overseeing advice on how and when the Federal Government will phase out live sheep exports by sea.
In a statement issued on Friday afternoon Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Murray Watt said he agreed to the panel’s request for a short extension to enable them to complete their research, deliberations and recommendations.
“My priority has always been, and continues to be, ensuring the phase out occurs in an orderly way, and this includes proper planning,” the statement said.
“Since consultation started in March the panel have received more than 800 written submissions and over 3300 survey responses.
“They’ve also listened to diverse stakeholder perspectives at public forums in person and online.
“With the volume and range of consultation information now known, and the commissioned work now received, the panel has requested a short extension to wrap up the analysis.
“I acknowledge the panel’s commitment to providing recommendations on a pathway forward, and I commend their diligence to honing the report during the coming months.
Minister Watt confirmed the end date for the phase would not happen during this term of parliament.
“We know farmers and other industry participants need time to prepare for the pathway forward,” he said.
“The report is vital to developing a considered and orderly implementation plan that advances animal welfare, examines the needs of impacted individuals, business and local communities and identifies opportunities for future sheep industry growth.
“I thank all stakeholders who provided input into how and when the phase out should be implemented, including what’s needed to seize new opportunities, such as expanding onshore processing and exporting more of our high-quality sheep meat to the world.”
More information about the phase out of live sheep exports by sea, is available on the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry website.
The independent panel is chaired by former Chief Executive of the Murray Darling Basin Authority and senior public servant, Phillip Glyde.
The panel also includes Western Australian agriculture expert Sue Middleton, former Federal Minister Warren Snowdon, and former RSPCA chief executive officer Heather Neil.
The panel will provide its report to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry by October 25.
Source: Minister for Agriculture