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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 676 asked in the Legislative Council on 23 August 2018 by Hon Robin Scott

Minister responding: Hon A. MacTiernan
Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on 23 August 2018


676. Hon ROBIN SCOTT to the Minister for Regional Development:

I refer to the cancellation of the export licence to Emanuel Exports.

(1) Can the minister confirm that the president of the Pastoralists and Graziers Association, Tony Seabrook, has stated that the only winners from the cancellation are animal welfare activists?

(2) Can the minister confirm that Emanuel Exports is appealing against the cancellation?

(3) I ask the minister to advise what action the state government is taking or will take to facilitate the resumption of live sheep exports?


(1)–(3) I am not really in a position to confirm that Mr Tony Seabrook said that, but it certainly sounds like the type of thing that he would say. I understand from the public statements that have been made by Emanuel Exports that it is intending to seek to appeal or to seek judicial review of the decision. I think that Mr Seabrook, who has used all his time and energy to go into bat on behalf of Emanuel Exports—not even of the entire industry—notwithstanding the mounting evidence that has been brought before the public and indeed before the federal government, has missed a real opportunity to be part of an intelligent and meaningful debate about what we do here. I counsel him to follow the lead of the WA Farmers' Federation and to be more focused on the interests of the farmers, rather than on one particular exporter with which presumably he has some very strong relationship.

I am confident that we will see the industry resume in mid-September. Obviously, with the major exporter out of the game, we should expect less activity in this regard. I think it is important to get this absolutely right. With the animal welfare regulations, the new standards that are being implemented and the enforcement of the existing standards, we are not going to see this trade have the same margins in it that it had before. The economics of that simply do not work. I think we will see the trade resume, but I think we need to be very clear that it will not be operating at the same level and with the same margins that it was before. We want to work with the farming community to say, in this changed environment, what do we need to do to ensure we get a decent market for our farmers? A part of that must be developing the capability of our processes and another part must be helping our farmers restructure the flock so they have animals that are not as reliant on the live export trade.