Legislation to end live sheep exports by sea passes House of Reps

The 1 May 2028 end date for the export of live sheep by sea from Australia is one step closer to being set in law, with the Export Control Amendment (Ending Live Sheep Exports by Sea) Bill 2024 passing the House of Representatives today.

The passage of legislation also brings the $107 million transition support package for the Australian sheep supply chain another step closer to being available.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Murray Watt said the Albanese Government was delivering on its election commitment to the Australian people.

“The passage of this Bill will provide certainty to all stakeholders and enable the roll-out of the programs under the transition support package to begin in the next financial year,” Minister Watt said.

“Our transition plan strikes a balance between improving sheep welfare and providing time for a sustainable pathway for sheep farmers, the supply chain participants and communities in Western Australia, and for our trading partners to adjust.

“Currently the live sheep export by sea industry is worth just $77 million to the national economy, while sheep meat exports are worth $4.5 billion a year, and that figure is growing.

“In addition to those exports, domestic demand for sheep products is up to $3.5 billion.

Ending live sheep exports by sea marks a considerable step forward for animal welfare, while capitalising on opportunities to create more jobs onshore in sheep meat processing.

“The Australian Government is committed to seeing Australia’s domestic and international sheep meat markets continue to grow and offer more opportunities to Australian producers and processors.

There is a strong future for the Western Australian sheep industry, with more sheep meat processing creating hundreds of local jobs and greater benefit to the local economy."

The Export Control Amendment (Ending Live Sheep Exports by Sea) Bill 2024 will now move on to the Senate.

FAST FACTS:

  • $77 million: value of live sheep exports by sea from Australia, 2022-23 (ABS)
  • $4.5 billion: value of Australian sheep meat exports, 2022-23 (ABS)
  • $5.1 billion: forecast value of Australian sheep meat exports, 2024-25 (ABARES)
  • $3.5 billion: estimated value of sheep meat in domestic retail markets, 2022 (MLA)
  • 7kg per person: average Australian’s consumption of sheep meat, 2023 (MLA)
  • 88 thousand tonnes: Australia’s mutton exports to China, highest on record, 2022-23
  • 20 thousand tonnes: Australia’s mutton exports to Malaysia, 2022-23