WAFarmers is frustrated and disappointed by the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s, decision to not grant Rural Export and Trading (WA) Pty Ltd an exemption to export livestock after 1 June 2020.
WAFarmers Livestock President David Slade said that the live export industry had worked hard to resolve the issue, after what was an entirely mishandled situation by the health authorities, and state and federal governments regarding the vessel.
“A very unfortunate situation, it could have happened to any vessel entering WA, but because the vessel just so happened to be a live export ship – now an entire industry suffers at the expense of a mishandled situation,” he said.
“While all attempts were made by industry to be granted an exemption, it’s quite obvious the regulators had no intention of ever granting RETWA the opportunity to load the vessel after June 1st.
“Given the major advances to animal welfare conditions on board live export vessels, it is extremely clear there are hidden agendas at play.
“It seems the regulator will do anything to make it as difficult as possible to move livestock out of the Port of Fremantle.
“All RETWA required was a maximum two-week extension to load the vessel – WAFarmers has pushed for flexible shipping windows either side of the summer prohibition period for this exact reason, that things happen outside of industry’s control.
“Industry has proven it is safe to ship sheep this time of year since the implementation of reviewed compliance and regulations.
“All this debacle proves is that the live export industry consistently seems to fall on the regulators deaf-ears – it’s extremely frustrating.
Mr Slade said Kuwait had pleaded with the Australian Government to waive the upcoming suspension stating that Covid19 has damaged the region’s food security.
“Our trading partners consistently want our product for reliable food security, by the regulator not granting a one-off exemption for this vessel, our partners now have 56,000 sheep less in their local meat market – it’s not acceptable and they will continue to look elsewhere.
“How many times, can we play with a nation’s food security, and one that we have had the loyalty of for many years? It’s a total disgrace – our producers will feel this and so too will the middle east.”
“It’s our trading partners food security which is critical, the state and federal governments need to ensure they do everything they can to see this live export consignment through, if they can’t see this consignment through, they better be ready to mend the bridges with our trading partners,” Mr Slade said.
WAFarmers continues to support Western Australia’s live export trade.