The release of the independent review into Australia’s live animal export industry, conducted by Phillip Moss AM, is an important step toward stabilising the sector, according to The Nationals WA.
Leader Mia Davies said Western Australia was the main player in Australia’s live export industry, and the impact of disruption to the sector had had serious ramifications for producers, businesses, stock agents and exporters.
“The last six months have been a tumultuous time for the thousands of West Australians whose lives are connected to the live export trade,” Ms Davies said.
“The Moss Review highlights some serious issues in relation to the industry regulator and after months of uncertainty the Federal Government needs to act swiftly to work through any change that is required.
“In particular, improvements to communication with industry and businesses are essential.”
Ms Davies said many in the sector had expressed their frustration at the lack of communication from the Department of Agriculture, and an unwillingness to engage with businesses in a timely manner.
“This, along with other concerns, have been conveyed to the Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud directly,” Ms Davies said.
The Nationals WA agriculture spokesperson Colin de Grussa and Roe MP Peter Rundle visited Canberra last week to meet with the Minister and the Department specifically to discuss the frustration and concerns of the industry here in Western Australia.
Mr de Grussa said the recommendations of the Moss Review were a stark reminder that all elements of the sector had a responsibility to act consistently and with integrity to ensure live export had a sustainable future.
“We need to rely on science and work closely with the sector to implement the recommendations of this and other reviews initiated by the Minister, the lines of communication must remain open,” Mr de Grussa said.
“Given that 85 per cent of the live sheep trade is in Western Australia, The Nationals WA are calling for the Department to expand its presence here in the State.
“The industry understands that to remain successful it needs to retain its social licence in the eyes of the Australian public.
“However, the Department of Agriculture must also accept it has a role to play in supporting the industry through this transition, and give particular support to industry in WA.”
Mr de Grussa said he would continue to work with industry representatives to ensure their views on the Moss Review and the future of the sector were heard.
“I look forward to bringing stakeholders and the Minister together next week for further discussions on how we can secure the future of this vital WA industry,” he said. “The Nationals WA understand that a strong, sustainable and humane live export sector helps to keep regional WA strong.”