"We won't give up on live export"
That was the message from The National Party's new Federal leader, David Littleproud, who arrived in Perth this afternoon to attend a shadow cabinet meeting after meeting with the WAFarmers team to discuss issues affecting the State's agricultural industry.
Speaking to Farm Weekly at the WAFarmers headquarters in Bentley, Mr Littleproud said he hoped to speak with Premier Mark McGowan on the live export issue this trip.
Mr McGowan initially supported the continuation of the State's live export industry when the Federal Labor Party announced its plans to phase out the industry, prior to the election.
"This new (Labor) government - they're going to cut and run and export animal welfare standards to countries that really won't cut the mustard," Mr Littleproud said.
"It's important we keep the industry and that we can prove with science that we can do this better than anyone else in the world.
"This market will not go away, so we can't export our animal welfare standards to another country that has lesser standards - Australia should stay and get it right.
"We now need to work with those, particularly in the Labor party like Mark McGowan, to show leadership and put down the party political lines to demonstrate that this industry can stay."
Mr Littleproud said when considering the live export issue it was also important to take into account the food security of the countries WA was exporting to.
"They don't have the refrigerating supply chains we do, so you've got to understand that this industry will not go away," he said.
Reflecting on his previous role as minister for agriculture, Mr Littleproud said one of the legacy items he thought had been reformed was the live export of sheep.
"I know the exporters over here were a bit cranky with me for a while, but it had to be done because now we do it better than anyone else in the world," he said.
Considering Australia's relationship with China and the trading bans put in place on some of our agricultural commodities since the Federal government supported an investigation into the origins of COVID-19, Mr Littleproud said there was a baseline in which that relationship could be reset.
"That is based around the values, principles and sovereignty of each country and respecting those," he said.
"We won't be trading away those values and principles or our democracy for the 14 demands they have put in place or until they get rid of those coercive actions that they took in terms of our commodities."
While welcoming the fact that there had been initial dialogue from China to the new Labor government, Mr Littleproud said it was a small step in a very long journey.
"Previously, as agricultural minister, I was very clear that my phone was always on and my door was always open and I reached out to my (Chinese) counterpart a number of times," he said.
"It is a good step to have dialogue and we have always said that the best way to resolve any misunderstanding is through dialogue.
"I believe we took the right steps in standing up to them, but what needs to happen in the future - I think we have to be careful and understand that it will be a long journey."
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