In what has been described by members of the industry as incredibly disappointing the live sheep export supply chain analysis report conducted by Episode 3 (EP3) has been withheld from the public and labelled a cabinet document.
The announcement is just weeks after a similar Freedom of Information request to access the Independent Panel's report to the Minister for Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry, Murray Watt, was also rejected.
The EP3 report was contracted by the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF), with the purpose of assisting the Independent Panel with expert economic analysis, as chairman Phillip Glyde had discussed at the original consultation meetings in April.
On Tuesday an FOI request to access the EP3 report was answered with a 533 page document, of which more than 500 pages were redacted, including the report itself.
EP3 was awarded the tender on June 5, after an initial call from DAFF for applications was unsuccessful.
The finalised report from EP3 was due on July 31 and was utilised by the panel.
Industry was keen to see the in-depth analysis conducted by EP3 founders Matt Dalgleish and Andrew Whitelaw.
Meanwhile, the Pegasus Economics reports assessing existing studies into the live sheep export trade , including its own previous reports, were released under FOI and their intention was also to inform the panel.
The contract was given to Pegasus on May 5 and delivery was due by June 30.
Farm Weekly contacted Mr Watt for comment on why they had not released the EP3 report and why it was also a cabinet document, but is yet to receive a response.
A spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) said the Independent Panel was asked to examine matters, including but not limited to, the economic impact of the phase-out, agricultural production systems and onfarm management.
"The panel deliberately sought to consider all viewpoints by inviting input and contributions from a wide variety of sources and drawing on a range of research, analysis and data," the DAFF spokesperson said.
"The independent panel commissioned several reports to inform its deliberations, including from Episode 3.
"No single piece of analysis provided the panel in its mind with a definitive view.
"The results of any analysis will vary depending on the data used and modelling assumptions.
"The department notes, all reports commissioned by the panel should be seen as the work of the respective consultants and should not be seen as representing the views of the independent panel nor the Commonwealth."
DAFF confirmed the EP3 report was commissioned by the Independent Panel, so it still leaves the question as to why it has been labelled a cabinet document unanswered.
National Party leader David Littleproud said the government was withholding the reports because they did not support the government's position.
"It is becoming more and more obvious that Labor don't want to release their so-called scientific and economic evidence because it simply doesn't exist and instead hides behind Cabinet-in-Confidence," Mr Littleproud said.
"Sadly, Agriculture Minister Murray Watt has made decisions without being given proper modelling or details into the impact of banning live sheep exports.
"More recently, WA Premier Roger Cook told Parliament that stopping the live sheep export trade is an 'unnecessary burden'.
"While I am pleased that the WA Premier is finally standing up for WA farmers, he must now step up and meet with Federal Labor east coast politicians, to ensure they reverse their senseless decision to end live sheep exports."