A FACT-finding mission of Federal MPs has recently been to the Middle East to look into the issue of Australia’s Live Sheep Trade.
Among them were Labor MPs Ann Aly, Maria Vamvakinou and Chris Hayes, who all went to Kuwait to meet with the Kuwait Investment Authority and sheep importer KLTT.
The ALP has a policy that Australia’s live export industry should be phased out in favour of the transitioning to a chilled meat export industry.
For months One Nation has been saying that ending the live export trade in Australia will not end the industry, but will simply result in importers importing from other countries and Australian farmers will lose out.
This would have a major impact on the national and WA economies, especially in regional WA.
For cultural and religious reasons, Kuwaitis and others Middle Eastern nations want to purchase livestock, not chilled or frozen meat.
The delivery of livestock is essential to the contract Australia holds and if we as a nation are not willing to provide our buyers with the product they desire, importers such as KLTT and others will simply go to a country that can provide them with their desired product.
South Africa and Romania have already been mentioned as possible alternatives.
Regardless of who, there will not be a shortage of nations bidding to fill the void in the market left by Australia’s cessation of live exports.
As I mentioned, the Kuwaitis will not switch to chilled or frozen meat over live imports for cultural and religious reasons, and this will not change.
It’s either live exports, or no exports.
There is no middle ground.
Ironically, those in the ALP and Greens who have difficulty understanding this situation, are the very same people who consider themselves more tolerant and sensitive to the cultural differences of other nations.
So why are the ALP and Greens clinging to a policy that will knowingly not end live exports to the Middle East, but will only serve to undo a valuable and crucial trading partnership?
If this is truly about animal welfare, how do the ALP and Greens reconcile their policy with the fact that the countries which will inevitably pick up the live export contracts almost certainly do not have animal welfare laws and standards as strict as Australia’s?
Kuwait buys about one million sheep a year from Australia, about 70 per cent of which come from WA and the impact of ending that industry will be catastrophic.
If Australia stops exporting live sheep, our farmers lose out, small businesses in regional towns lose out, which in turn impacts the entire region.
This impact will flow on to the State and national economies, which are already suffering in many areas.
The Kuwaitis’ lose an established export relationship which provides them with top quality Australian lamb and are now forced to import from another country.
The only winners are the farmers in the countries who will inevitably win the new contracts.
Regardless, Kuwait will continue to import about one million sheep a year.
It is beyond a doubt that stopping the export of live animals from Australia will not halt the importation of other animals from other origins.
The question becomes, do Labor Party MPs represent the interests of Australian farmers or those of other exporting nations?