Massive truck convoy to converge on Perth to protest live sheep export ban

More than 1000 trucks, and other farming vehicles, are expected to descend on Perth from four directions during peak hour on Friday (May 31) to protest the end of the live sheep export industry.

The action is part of the Keep the Sheep campaign organised by a coalition of angry WA farmers, shearers and truckies and it comes after Labor introduced the Export Control Amendment (Ending Live Sheep Exports by Sea) in the House of Representatives this week.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has already declared he’ll overturn the ban if successful at the next federal election, and the Keep the Sheep movement plans to focus on marginal regional seats to help the cause.

“The ban will devastate WA farming families and their communities. More than that, it will have consequences that will hurt truckies, stock agents, shearers and sporting clubs in WA towns like Kojonup, Wagin and Kulin,” said the protest organisers.

“The nations that buy our sheep overseas are concerned about the ban. They trade with Australia for our high quality and superior sheep.

“The ban won’t create demand for chilled or boxed meat, it will simply push the trade to countries with far lower animal welfare standards.

“We need to keep the sheep because a ban is unfair to WA farmers and their families, who rely on the sheep industry to survive.”

Livestock and Rural Transport Association of WA vice president Ben Sutherland, who also owns livestock transportation service 5K Livestock and Bulk, will be leading 300 farmers from Great Southern in the protest convoy.

“Stock crates, flat tops, cars, trailers, utes, there’s even tractors coming out of Fremantle,” Sutherland told The Weekly Times.

“There’s literally hundreds of people behind us supporting us in this, (the decision) is really unfair and unjust … how would you feel if 40 per cent of your income was just snatched away from you in a blink of an eye.

“It affects my community and badly, through kids at sporting events, other sporting associations, affects what we spend in the local community … it affects everything.”

Sutherland told Big Rigs earlier this week that he now faces an uncertain future, despite the federal government’s assurance that it will put $107 million “on the table” to help operators such as himself make an “orderly and well-planned transition” away from the trade.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Murray Watt said there will be an inquiry into the bill and supports the idea that public hearings are held in WA, the state that is most impacted by the new legislation that aims to phase out the export of live sheep by ship by 2028.

Watt also said there was no need for sheep producers to leave the industry because of this decision.

“Our plan is to build and extend the processing industry in WA,” he said.

“Only 12-14 per cent of (WA) sheep are being turned to live export. We want to build up the processing industry even further over the next four years so sheep farmers can remain profitable in WA, and all that would change is that their sheep would be processed onshore.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend