WA sheep producers suffered $60m live sheep loss – PGA

Sheep Central, October 22, 2018

PGA president Tony Seabrook.

WESTERN Australian sheep producers have suffered a potential $60 million-plus loss with the recent downturn in live trade shipments, the Pastoralists and Graziers Association has claimed.

PGA president Tony Seabrook has welcomed the recent granting of an export licence to Rural Exports and Trading WA, the Australian subsidiary of majority Kuwait Government-owned importer Kuwait Livestock and Trading, Rural Export Trading WA.

He said the decision by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources was an important first step in the resumption of live sheep exports out of Western Australia. However, he questioned why it took so long for the regulator to grant the licence approval.

“The bureaucratic inertia and undue regulatory compliance from the regulator that has been involved in the granting of this licence has done little in restoring full confidence within the WA livestock industry, and has only served to place livelihoods of thousands of Western Australian farming businesses and families in limbo.

“It has been close to five months since the last shipment of sheep to the Gulf, and so far approximately 19,000 sheep have been exported from Western Australia to other markets, costing WA sheep producers an estimated $60 million loss,” Mr Seabrook said.

“During the same period last year, over 532,000 sheep had been exported from Western Australia, with the estimated farm gate return worth more than $62 million.

“This figure doesn’t include the flow on to other regional industries who are reliant on the live export trade, including transporters, stock agents, and feed suppliers, nor does it include many small businesses in regional communities depend on a vibrant live export trade to sustain their livelihoods,” he said.

Mr Seabrook sad in Western Australia, the live export industry is the largest buyer of livestock, supporting regional businesses, and providing much-needed regional jobs, which in turn strengthens regional communities.

“These unnecessary delays, which seem to be based solely on having an association with WA’s largest sheep exporter, Emanuel Exports in no way benefits pastoralists and livestock producers, and has only served in destroying the confidence in what is a legal, safe and viable industry.”

Mr Seabrook recently last week met with Federal MPs and Senators in Canberra, including Agriculture Minister David Littleproud, to discuss the economic and social importance of the live sheep and cattle trade on Western Australian producers and regional and remote communities.

RSPCA condemns RETWA decision

RSPCA Australia senior policy officer Dr Jed Goodfellow condemned the department’s decision to grant the RETWA export licence.

“It absolutely beggars belief, how the department could think it could possibly meet its regulatory obligations in granting this licence.

“KLTT has a horrific track record of animal cruelty and disaster in live exports, and has been implicated in multiple ESCAS breaches and animal cruelty investigations in Kuwait in recent years,” Dr Goodfellow said.

“What the public needs to know, is that RETWA had its export licence cancelled in 2004 by then Nationals Agriculture Minister Warren Truss following 25 high mortality voyages within a two-year period between 2000-2002

“And when this happened, Emanuel Exports filled the gap providing export services for KLTT,” he said.

“Now that Emanuel Exports has had its licence cancelled, RETWA is stepping back in.

“It’s another example of the live export shell game, and KLTT is playing the department of Agriculture for fools.”

Dr Goodfellow said RETWA and Emanuel Exports are closely affiliated trading partners, and have shared directors and live export ships.

“Graham Daws founded RETWA in 1973, the same year he became director of Emanuel Exports before stepping down earlier this year following the Awassi Express scandal.

“KLTT leased the Awassi Express, and was the consignee/importer for all five horrific voyages exposed on 60 Minutes this year,” Dr Goodfellow said.

“This decision makes an absolute mockery of our already-troubled live export regulation.”

“This is another dark day in Australia’s terrible history of volatile live sheep exports, and serves as further proof of the incompetence of the live export regulator,” said Dr Goodfellow.


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