Federal Labor has again hung West Australian farming families out to dry with another proposed ban on the State’s live export industry.
The Nationals WA Leader Mia Davies said Western Australia would be disproportionately punished under Labor’s disastrous plan.
“WA farmers account for 85 per cent of the nation’s live sheep trade,” Ms Davies said. “There are about 2500 farmers producing sheep across the State who have had their futures turned upside down.
“This decision has been made to ward off the ever increasing green vote in inner city electorates where Labor is desperate to secure additional seats at the upcoming election.
“It ignores the economic and social significance of the trade for our State, particularly in regional Western Australia, to chase the vote.”
Ms Davies said Mr Fitzgibbon’s ill-thought out announcement bore striking similarities to Labor’s kneejerk decision to ban live cattle exports in 2011.
“WA cattle producers are still reeling from Labor’s last live export ban,” Ms Davies said. “Many went out of business and it destroyed families.
“Now our sheep farmers face the same fate.
“You can bet your bottom dollar that Labor won’t stop at sheep. It’s a very slippery slope once you start banning live exports.
“Cattle will be the next cab off the rank and all of a sudden a gaping hole has been punched through WA’s regional economy and farming communities.”
Nationals WA agriculture spokesman Colin de Grussa, who joined Ms Davies at a farmer-led forum in Darkan last Thursday to discuss the impact a live export ban would have on their livelihoods, said the industry did not accept Labor’s proposal.
“Participants at the Darkan forum spoke about the wider community impacts of a ban and expressed their outrage that the regulator had failed them,” he said.
“Rather than a ban, the farming community wants action from lobby and industry groups as well as government to make sure their industry isn’t thrust into disrepute again.
“From their perspective, and ours, animal welfare remains a number one priority and they want to see steps taken to maintain a safe and viable industry.”
Mr de Grussa said he would continue to advocate for farmers and encourage them to coordinate a strong response to Labor’s ban threat.