Panel underway on live sheep export phase out

Consultation is now underway to inform how and when the Albanese Government will fulfil its election commitment to phase out live sheep exports by sea.

An independent panel will lead the consultation process, chaired by former Chief Executive of the Murray Darling Basin Authority and senior public servant, Phillip Glyde.

The panel also includes Western Australian agriculture expert Ms Sue Middleton, former Federal Minister the Hon Warren Snowdon, and former RSCPA CEO Ms Heather Neil.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Murray Watt encouraged all stakeholders to take part in the consultation process.

“This panel brings together a strong and diverse mix of skills and experiences that will help facilitate meaningful consultation with all interested stakeholders and provide important recommendations on a pathway forward,” Minister Watt said.

“Starting this consultation process is an important step towards developing a considered and orderly implementation plan that advances animal welfare, examines the needs of impacted individuals, businesses and local communities and identifies opportunities for future sheep industry growth.

“Phasing out live sheep exports by sea is a complex issue that will impact farmers, businesses, our trading partners, and the communities that participate in the trade.

“I am also conscious that the wider Australian community is interested in the phase out, including those that want to see animal welfare maintained and improved.

“Along with other measures, such as creating a new Inspector-General of Animal Welfare, the Albanese Government is delivering on our election commitment to strengthen animal welfare in Australia.

“My priority is to ensure the phase out occurs in an orderly way, with consultation and proper planning. Farmers and other industry participants need time to prepare, and that’s why the phase out won’t take effect during this term of Parliament.

“I encourage all stakeholders to participate and provide input into how and when the phase out should be implemented, including what’s needed to seize new opportunities, such as expanding onshore processing and exporting more of our high-quality sheep meat to the world.

“I will continue working closely with industry to ensure all animal welfare standards are maintained, as expected by the Australian community.

”More information about the phase out of live sheep exports be sea, including details of how to participate in the consultation process is available on the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry website at

The panel will provide its report to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry by September 30, 2023.