Shadow Agriculture Minister Colin de Grussa has labelled the dismal consultation undertaken by the Albanese Government on the shutdown of the live sheep industry as a farce.
Mr de Grussa said the current face-to-face phase of the consultation process being undertaken by the independent panel appointed by the Albanese Government was a box-ticking exercise.
“The feedback I have received from producers, farmers, stakeholder groups, and community members is that the current consultation process has been insulting at best,” Mr de Grussa said.
“There has been little to no notice of community meetings, insufficient time allocated for those meetings, no specified framework to direct discussion, and no formal record keeping occurring.
“This does not instil any confidence whatsoever that the consultation process is being undertaken in good faith with a genuine endeavour to gain knowledge and insight about issues faced by this $136 million West Australian industry.”
Mr de Grussa said he has written directly to Federal Agriculture Minister Murray Watt expressing his concerns in the strongest possible terms.
“I have told the Minister to direct the independent panel to undertake a broader second round of face-to face meetings to engage the many communities that were missed in the first round,” Mr de Grussa said.
“Not only are we talking about the decimation of a sustainable industry, but we are also talking about the livelihoods and futures of affected farmers, businesses and regional communities.
“Given the Albanese Government wants to phase out the live sheep trade in the next few years, I find it inexplicable that so little time has been allocated to both the consultation process and the reporting deadline for the panel to make its recommendations.”
Mr de Grussa said the farcical process clearly showed Labor’s flippant disregard and complete lack of understanding of the gravity of their decision and its impact on regional WA.
“West Australians deserve better than a Federal Government who wants to decimate a major industry, and a State Premier and Agriculture Minister who have conveniently gone silent.”
Deputy Leader of The Nationals WA and Member for Roe Peter Rundle, whose electorate is one of the most affected, said he was not surprised at the level of anger and dissatisfaction being conveyed to him by affected farmers and businesses.
“There is a significant level of distress being experienced across the agricultural sector and impacted communities as a result of the Albanese Government’s decision to shutdown the live sheep export industry,” Mr Rundle said.
“It is disgraceful that Labor continues to deny proper consultation on a decision which will ultimately impact the lives and livelihoods of many West Australians.”