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Monday, 25 June 2018
Page: 6287

Ms TEMPLEMAN (Macquarie) (16:13): The two biggest players in the northern summer live sheep export trade will not be operating over the next few months—one suspended and the other withdrawing voluntarily. It's good news that some sheep will no longer face the humidity and high temperatures that they cannot physically cope with, via these carriers. Labor would have totally banned live sheep exports during the northern summer, effective immediately, and 1,600 people in my electorate of Macquarie have emailed me to support this stand.

From briefings with the Australian Veterinary Association, Animals Australia and the RSPCA, it's clear that the government has ignored the science of the long-haul sheep trade that shows it is inevitable that sheep will die in large numbers in the northern summer. There is no stocking density limit that can protect winter-acclimatised animals in temperatures of more than 40 degrees Celsius and humidity of up to 80 per cent in those May to October months. This government also completely ignores the economic opportunities created by ending cruel live sheep exports. The consequence of it taking so little action is that the industry will get no support in transitioning, and we will see industry players make decisions unilaterally that have profound implications for sheep stranded in the supply chain.

Labor is committed to phasing out the balance of the live sheep export trade within five years at the outside. During the transition, there will be a regime regulating the highest animal welfare standards, and we can work with farmers, unions and industry to do more value-adding here in Australia. More processing would be good for farmers, good for animal welfare, good for the economy.