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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 1167 asked in the Legislative Council on 20 November 2018 by Hon Robin Scott

Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on

LIVE EXPORT — DOMESTIC PROCESSING

1167. Hon ROBIN SCOTT to the Minister for Agriculture and Food:

(1) Given the government's reluctance to support the live export industry, whether for sheep, goats, cattle or other livestock, what is the government doing to reduce bureaucracy, red tape and additional costs on primary producers as an incentive to encourage onshore processing, preferably in Western Australia?

(2) What is the WA government doing to attract cross-border primary producers to process their livestock in WA rather than export live from their home state or territory?

(3) What incentive is there for an exporter to send livestock for processing at Broome or any other location in WA from either South Australia, Queensland or the Northern Territory?

Hon DARREN WEST replied:

I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question. I provide the following answer of behalf of the Minister for Agriculture and Food.

(1) The premise of the question is incorrect. The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has established a live export reference group, consisting of farmers, a meat industry expert, a representative of Sheep Producers Australia and a stock agent. This group has begun to provide advice and direction on the planning of DPIRD projects to explore the strategic challenges and opportunities within the sheep industry because of changes in the live export industry. The state government supports the reduction of red tape to improve small business. Export abattoirs operate under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, so are a commonwealth responsibility.

(2) The first priority of the state government is to preserve the biosecurity status of the livestock industries of this state. This is to avoid entry of diseases such as liver fluke and bovine Johne's disease, the establishment of which would cause severe economic loss. However, there are provisions for anyone to apply for variances to the conditions of entry. This occurred in the past to allow local abattoirs to source vast numbers of stock from interstate. However, there have been no applications for such approvals recently. There is currently excess processing capacity and an undersupply of slaughter stock in the eastern states. East coast processors are looking to purchase stock in Western Australia and there is little demand to process stock in WA from elsewhere. Sheep traditionally move from the west coast to eastern processors in the spring, when processing capacity is limited in WA, and there is evidence of this occurring this year.

(3) Processing is a commercial decision that producers have to make. The issue is not only processing capacity but also markets and the type of animals available. With the current undersupply on the east coast, due to drought and excess processor capacity, and the large road distances involved, there would be little reason to provide incentive to send stock for processing in WA from other states when this could compromise the biosecurity of the local industry.