Media release

Live exporters must lead

31 July 2018

Live exporters must show their Middle East customers—and Australia—the live sheep trade can be done properly, Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said today.

Minister Littleproud has recently travelled to the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and now Israel to support the live export industry. Government is doing all it can but that effort will come to nothing if no exporter steps up and takes the sheep which are currently in Perth to the Middle East, where customers need to know Australia can supply sheep through the northern summer.

"The Australian Livestock Exporters Council have for years said they're the world leaders in live export and now is their chance to prove it," Minister Littleproud said.

"ALEC members need to show us they haven't been taking us for mugs the whole time.

"Let's talk straight. The current situation is the result of the alleged actions of an exporter. Exporters have made millions of dollars off sheep farmers. It's time for an exporter to step up. Farmers should not take the fall.

"An exporter needs to take these sheep to the Middle East. Exporters who value the trade know we need to show Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE we can give them supply through their summer. We also need to show Australians the trade can be done properly through the Middle Eastern summer and rebuild public support for this industry.

"When an exporter is suspended, it is not the fault of the government nor of the regulator. It is not the fault of farmers.

"Letting exporters do the wrong thing without serious consequences would eventually see the trade shut down forever. Suggestions the independent regulator should look the other way to ignore allegedly dodgy behaviour are dangerous. Suggestions I should hold talks with suspended exporters to broker a deal with them are equally dangerous."