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WA sheep reps are flying to Canberra to plead with politicians

Western Australian sheep industry representatives are flying to Canberra tomorrow to speak directly with politicians about the impact the Government's proposed phase out of live sheep exports will have on rural communities.

Staff Writer
 The proposed live sheep export ban will phase out whole towns, say industry representatives. Picture Mark Saunders.

The proposed live sheep export ban will phase out whole towns, say industry representatives. Picture Mark Saunders.

The delegates from Sheep Producers Australia, WAFarmers, WoolProducers Australia, the Western Australian Shearing Industry Association and the WA Livestock & Rural Transport Association are hoping to speak directly with Minister for Agriculture, Murray Watt, to present their argument.   

WA Shearing Industry Association president and shearing business owner, Darren Spencer, says the group wants to share with politicians, in person, what is at stake if the Government pushes ahead with the phase out.  

"We want to make sure politicians from across Australia understand that when they talk about phasing out live sheep exports, they risk phasing out whole towns," Spencer said. 

"The live sheep export industry is concentrated in Western Australia and employs farmers, shearers, truck drivers and livestock agents - which means it supports families, small schools - entire communities, and the towns they live in. Phasing out live export really will phase out whole towns." 

Livestock & Rural Transport Association of WA vice president, Ben Sutherland, who owns a rural livestock transport business, echoed Spencer's comments.  

"This won't just affect farmers - it's something that will be felt across the community," Sutherland said.  

"We help with activities like hauling equipment for local schools and their sports activities - and we give a strong hand with donations and the like for the local footy club.  

"We won't be able to keep doing things like that if this phase out is supported. 

"Right now, it's a busy time of year and our business is supporting five employees, so it's a big thing to head over to Canberra, but we want to look politicians in the eye and help them understand what this phase out will do to our families, our kids - and the Australian economy." 

Spencer and Sutherland will be joined by Geoff Pearson from WAFarmers, Steve McGuire representing WA wool producers and Corrigin sheep farmer Steven Bolt.  

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