Live export ban would have consequences says Mark Harvey-Sutton, ALEC

By Brooke Littlewood
May 15 2022 - 12:00am
Australian Live Exporters' Council chief executive officer Mark Harvey-Sutton.

AUSTRALIAN Live Exporters' Council chief executive officer Mark Harvey-Sutton expressed his disappointment in the Labor Party's live export stance.

Mr Harvey-Sutton said the implications of phasing out the live sheep export trade would be significant and have a downward effect on the industry.

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He said shutting down an industry - with about 3000 employees in Western Australia alone - was significant.

"The flow-on effect to regional communities and those employed in the supply chain would be quite dramatic," Mr Harvey-Sutton said.

"The other aspect to it is by banning live export you are essentially removing competition and limiting opportunities in the market for WA producers."

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Mr Harvey-Sutton said ending live export showed a lack of respect to longstanding trading partners, who had invested significantly in the industry.

He said the industry had done "everything that had been asked of it and more" and its performance had been outstanding.

"It is a different industry now," Mr Harvey-Sutton said.

"What was most disappointing was that activist groups actually took it upon themselves to announce Labor's policy for them, particularly for those whose livelihoods were on the line."

Mr Harvey-Sutton said there was a lack of understanding of the agricultural sector and such decisions - without consultation - were offensive.

He labelled it a "gross over-simplification" to say the market could simply change to processed.

"There are reasons this trade exists and they range from the demands from our trading partners," Mr Harvey-Sutton said.

"They request livestock and they need livestock for their food security requirements, then of course if you go back down the other end, the sustainability of abattoirs is not an option for parts of Australia.

"Live trade is very complementary of both our market needs and the prevailing conditions in Australia and to simply say one could be converted to the other - it demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of how the dynamics of Australia's livestock production works."

Mr Harvey-Sutton said the announcement set a terrible precedent and was a sign that industries could be closed on a whim.

He said it was a concern to agriculture more broadly given such a decision could be made devoid of consultation and understanding of the sector.

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