Transport operators vow to keep fighting despite live sheep ban bill passing

Transport operators have pledged to keep fighting the ban on live sheep exports by campaigning against Labor in key Western Australian electorates.

The controversial legislation to phase out exports by 2028 narrowly passed through the Senate yesterday, despite a last-ditch attempt by the Keep the Sheep lobby group to convince crossbench senators to vote their way.

“We also met with the Prime Minister (but he still didn’t listen),” campaign organiser and transport operator Ben Sutherland told followers.

“Unfortunately, as I’m quickly learning, like with so much of politics, the numbers were already decided.

“So, despite our efforts, Labor did get their ban passed in the Senate. And while this is disappointing, it is far from the end.

“This is just the end of the beginning, we will keep fighting.”

Sutherland said the Coalition has promised to overturn the ban if it gets elected so the campaign’s sole focus now is on doing its bit to change Labor-held seats at the federal election.

“That’s why in the coming weeks, we will be launching a billboard campaign in strategic locations in Perth, drawing eyeballs from voters in Labor’s key marginal seats,” added Sutherland, who is also the vice president of the WA Livestock and Rural Transport Association.

“From Thursday, volunteers in our ‘Farmy Army’ will be pounding thepavement delivering a critical message to households in those areas.

“Right now, we have been ramping up our social media, running targeted ads, and growing our supporters in city areas. If they think we’re quitting, they’ve got another thing coming.”

Sutherland said he has been overwhelmed by the level of support from the community since the start of the ‘Keep the Sheep’ campaign.

“That support has come from both rural and urban people,” he said.

“A huge number of people in the city realise the importance of a competitive livestock industry. They understand what this decision means to the prices they pay for meat and how it adds to their cost of living pressure.’

‘Those that have taken the time to listen to the facts, know that Australian exporters have led real animal welfare improvements in overseas markets and will continue to do so if given the chance.

‘This is a bitter blow for rural transporters who have just had their businesses placed on the line by a federal government that has treated them with contempt.”

The government has set aside $107 million to help farmers and people within the supply chain to transition away from live exports.

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