With speculation rife about a possible live sheep export ban, the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association is calling on all of its members and interested parties to urgently write to their Federal Member of Parliament and other key decision makers to express their view about proposals to phase out live sheep exports.
According to the ALRTA, the continuation of live sheep exports is uncertain. The Federal Parliament is currently debating legislation that will either impose measures to improve the trade or phase it out entirely. There are two Bills before the House of Representatives and more will follow as the Government implements changes to the current live export rules.
Live Sheep Export Long Haul Prohibition Bill 2018
This Bill was introduced by Liberal backbencher Susan Ley MP. It proposes to phase out live sheep exports to the Middle East over a five year period. The Bill is supported by Labour, the Greens and Liberal backbenchers Sarah Henderson MP and Jason Wood MP. The Government has so far prevented this Bill from being debated and has introduced an alternative Bill (see below) which is now under debate and proceeding rapidly to a vote.
Export Legislation Amendment (Live-Stock) Bill 2018
This Bill was introduced by the Government as a 1st stage response to the ‘Independent Review of Conditions for the Export of Sheep to the Middle East During the Northern Hemisphere Summer’, which made 23 recommendations.
This Bill will dramatically increase penalties for contravening existing live export laws and introduce several new offences which also carry very high penalties of up to:
- For individuals: 10,000 penalty units or 10 years imprisonment.
- For corporations: 20,000 penalty units; or three times the value of the benefit obtained by the body corporate; or 10% of the annual turnover of the body corporate in the relevant 12 month period – whichever is the greater.
While Labor will support this Bill, the Shadow Minister for Agriculture has introduced an amendment that would have the same effect as the prohibition bill.