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Labor keeps live sheep export phase-out report secret

Labor continues to keep live sheep farmers in the dark by refusing to release details of its
Independent Panel Report into the consequences of phasing out the live sheep export trade.
Leader of The Nationals David Littleproud said Agriculture Minister Murray Watt was
treating Australian farmers with contempt by hiding the report in Cabinet, despite
previously committing to providing more certainty by the end of 2023.
Minister Watt told Senate Estimates that although the panel’s report will be made public, he
couldn’t provide a date, saying ‘that is a decision for the government to make… I am not
going to go into what the recommendations of the panel are but the government remains
committed to delivering its election commitment’
.
Minister Watt also told Estimates he hadn’t yet seen a brief about the transition plan and
the government was yet to decide the timeframe for the phase-out.
Mr Littleproud said Labor needed to be transparent about the report because lives were
being kept in limbo, after a live sheep export phase-out panel travelled around Western
Australia but failed to properly consult with the industry.
“It has now been 111 days since the report was delivered to the Minister and farmers are
desperate to understand the impact on phasing out the industry and what will happen to
them,” Mr Littleproud said.
“It is not good enough that Minister Watt claims the transition ‘does involve taking a bit of
time’.
“Minister Watt is turning his back on farmers while failing to give them answers. Labor is
destroying the livelihoods of more than 3000 people who work in the trade and an industry
worth $85 million but doesn’t seem to care about being transparent.
“If Minister Watt is so confident in his decision to phase out the industry, why won’t he
release details of the report? It is becoming more and more obvious that Labor doesn’t want
to release its so-called scientific and economic evidence because it simply doesn’t exist.”

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