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Monday, 18 June 2018
Page: 3011

Senator STORER (South Australia) (11:34): I welcome this opportunity to add my support to this much-needed private senator's bill, the Animal Export Legislation Amendment (Ending Long-haul Live Sheep Exports) Bill 2018. I speak now to the 3,213 constituents in South Australia who contacted me directly about the live export trade. I am sympathetic to your concerns, which I know are shared by many other South Australians. Like you, I was horrified by the recent revelations about the conditions suffered by sheep en route to the Middle East. No animal deserves to be treated with such cruelty. That is why I said to you that we must develop a plan to phase out all exports of live sheep. This bill offers a fair and responsible way forward through a five-year transitional period. The stress and cruelty visited on sheep being transported long distances by sea in what are inevitably stressful and often fatal circumstances should be stopped for both moral and economic reasons.

It is essential that such a plan for transition contain arrangements to enable producers and exporters to shift to boxed lamb with minimal disruption to their business. It not only would be more humane but also would add economic value to currently underutilised abattoirs across Australia. Sales of boxed lamb to the Middle East are on the increase. Producers and exporters should be encouraged. Exporters should be encouraged to step up efforts to increase this aspect of the trade. The live sheep trade is already in economic decline, and steps need to be taken urgently to phase it out in a responsible and predictable way. As we have heard today from Senators Hinch and Rhiannon, the economic case of transitioning away from live exports is strong. ACIL and Pegasus economic analyses have shown this over the last decade. This bill is a first step towards that end. I strongly support this important first step to ending live exports, which is why I am a co-sponsor of this bill. I will continue my remarks at a later date.