Wednesday, 19 September 2018
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources; Consideration
I think you should tell the electorate in Queensland if you're changing your mind on cattle, Senator Watt, because a lot of these issues are being conflated together when, in actual fact, these are very important parts of both the sheep industry, particularly in Western Australia, my home state, and South Australia and the cattle industry across the north of Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland. These are very important issues and getting the live sheep trade going again from Western Australia is a very important part of the economic wellbeing and the future of the industry in Western Australia, and of the economic wellbeing of 5½ thousand families who significantly rely on that trade. If you had been at that public meeting in Katanning a few months ago, you would have seen how dreadfully impacted those families were by what was going on, not only by the way their industry was being characterised, particularly by the Greens, but also by the abandonment of the industry by those in the Labor Party directly opposite us.
The industry does have a track record of positive outcomes and improving outcomes and it can do better; it will do better. This government is committed to allowing it to do better and has made a significant set of changes in order to do that, such as having an independent observer on every vessel leaving Australia. Changes like this have made and will continue to make a positive difference. We need to see the trade from a Western Australian perspective particularly continuing. We need to see strong support—I would hope bipartisan support—for the trade, not just the cattle sector of the trade but the whole trade going forward.
Question agreed to.