Minister wants action

By Country News

Live exporters must show their Middle East customers and Australia that the live sheep trade can be done properly, Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud says.

Mr Littleproud recently travelled to the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Israel to support the live export industry.

He said government was doing all it could, but that effort would come to nothing if no exporter stepped up to take the sheep — which are currently stranded in Perth after their exporter was suspended — to the Middle East, where customers need to know Australia can supply sheep through the northern summer.

‘‘The Australian Livestock Exporters Council have for years said they’re the world leaders in live export and now is their chance to prove it,’’ Mr Littleproud said.

‘‘ALEC members need to show us they haven’t been taking us for mugs the whole time.

‘‘Let’s talk straight. The current situation is the result of the alleged actions of an exporter.

‘‘Exporters have made millions of dollars off sheep farmers. It’s time for an exporter to step up. Farmers should not take the fall.

‘‘An exporter needs to take these sheep to the Middle East.

‘‘Exporters who value the trade know we need to show Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE we can give them supply through their summer.

‘‘We also need to show Australians the trade can be done properly through the Middle Eastern summer and rebuild public support for this industry.

‘‘When an exporter is suspended, it is not the fault of the government nor of the regulator. It is not the fault of farmers.’’