Exports clean sweep

By Chris Thomson | posted on November 15, 2018

THE recent release of a review into Australia’s live animal exports will help stabilise the sector, says Nationals WA agriculture spokesman Colin de Grussa who with Roe MLA Peter Rundle has visited Canberra to get in the ear of federal regulators.

Recently, Mr Rundle and Mr de Grussa met Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud in the nation’s capital to discuss concerns they say were held by WA farmers.

Mr de Grussa said recommendations of the Moss Review, released on October 30, were a stark reminder that the live exports sector needed to act consistently to ensure it had a sustainable future.

“Given that 85 per cent of the live sheep trade is in Western Australia, The Nationals WA are calling for the [Federal Agriculture] Department to expand its presence here in the State,” he said.

The review found the department rarely used its significant powers and failed to address issues with regulations, leading to continued “incidents”.

The review, by former bureaucrat Philip Moss, attributed some issues to the federal government’s deregulation agenda. This included disbanding the department’s animal welfare branch.

In Parliament on November 1, State Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan welcomed the Commonwealth’s decision to accept all report recommendations.

“As I have said to the farming community, a minister who sweeps animal welfare issues under the carpet is no friend of agriculture,” she said.

“The findings vindicate the State Government’s decision in February this year to use Western Australian animal welfare laws to bring rogue live export operators to account, given the inactivity of the federal regulator.”

Mr Moss recommended an independent inspector-general of live exports, and that a welfare branch be reinstated within the federal department.

Image: Ms MacTiernan in Albany recently. Photo: Chris Thomson