The Rural Times

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Farmers have backed in the WA Premier, Roger Cook, following his strongest comments yet calling on the Albanese Government to abandon its controversial plan to phase out live sheep exports by sea.

Speaking in the WA Parliament yesterday, Premier Cook said the ‘unnecessary’ policy should be reconsidered.

“We believe the welfare arrangements that are in place, the checks and balances that have been put in place as a result of the reforms around that are sufficient,” Mr Cook said.

“We believe this will be an unnecessary burden and one that [the Federal Government] should reconsider.

“We are on a single ticket here. Western Australian government and Western Australian farmers believe that the decisions the Federal Government is currently negotiating over are unnecessary.

“We stand by the farmers and the community of Western Australia in relation to this issue,” the state Labor leader told Parliament.

National Farmers’ Federation President David Jochinke welcomed the support of the WA Premier in standing up for farmers and said it was time for the Albanese Government to listen.

“The evidence coming in continues to show there is no way to do this without destroying jobs, worsening welfare outcomes and testing our trading relationships.

“It’s appropriate now for the Albanese Government to say that putting an end date on the trade just isn’t responsible. The industry has improved and there is no longer a need for this policy," Mr Jochinke said.

Premier Cook’s comments were in response to a report by the North Eastern Wheatbelt Region of Councils (NEWROC), which found that damage from the ban would exceed $128 million just in those seven council areas.

NEWROC representatives were in Canberra this week and met with the NFF, but were denied a formal meeting with Agriculture Minister, Murray Watt.

“It’s so important that the Government hears from people impacted by this on the ground, not just the inner-city activists from the Eastern States.

“Now’s the time to be working with industry on a better path forward that can help restore confidence to the WA sheep industry,” Mr Jochinke said.