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Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, has welcomed the introduction of the Export Control Amendment (Ending Live Sheep Exports by Sea) Bill 2024, which will see live sheep exports by sea end on 1 May 2028.

“This legislation will eventually ban an industry that is systemically cruel, not in Australia’s best economic interest, increasingly unsustainable and deeply unpopular,” Mr Wilkie said. “With thousands of animals suffering on the voyages, it was unconscionable that the barbarity was allowed to continue.

“The live sheep export industry is worth less than $100 million and is a tiny fraction of Australia’s $8 billion sheep industry. The $107 million government assistance package will help farmers to adjust their farm mix and associated industries to refocus their work. There will be expanded opportunities for meat processing in Australia, and for exporters of chilled and frozen lamb and mutton. And the ban will enhance Australia’s reputation as an ethical food producer and leader in animal welfare.

“It is disappointing that the trade will continue until 2028, there will be no cap on the number of sheep that can be exported until that time, and there is no ban on beef cattle exports. However, credit should be given to the Government for what is perhaps the biggest single reform in animal welfare in Australia’s history. It was always the case that the only way to end the cruelty is to end the trade.”