28/02/2014 - 16:05

Live exports to Bahrain to resume

28/02/2014 - 16:05

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Western Australia's peak farming lobby has welcomed the news that Australia will resume live exports of sheep to Bahrain, following the negotiation of a new health protocol between the two nations.

Live exports to Bahrain to resume

Western Australia's peak farming lobby has welcomed the news that Australia will resume live exports of sheep to Bahrain, following the negotiation of a new health protocol between the two nations.

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce today announced the two countries had reached agreement on all Australian government requirements for the live trade to recommence.

The Australian government suspended live exports to Bahrain in 2012, after the Gulf nation rejected a shipment of sheep due to concerns about the disease scabby mouth.

The sheep were later slaughtered in Pakistan, prompting calls from animal welfare groups for the government to end the live export trade.

Mr Joyce said Bahrain had provided specific assurances on the scabby mouth disease and had provided assurances about the safe unloading of Australian sheep.

“Bahrain has historically been an important market for Australian live sheep exports – in 2011 it imported 400,000 Australian sheep, in addition to nearly 2,500 cattle," he said.

"This will be great news for Australian sheep producers, particularly those in Western Australia where most live sheep for export are sourced."

WA Farmers Federation spokesman Jeff Murray said the organisation had been fighting hard to resume trade to Bahrain.

“Bahrain is a valuable market for Western Australia due to the numbers we can deliver there, and the fact they have two port unload systems is a great advantage,” he said.

“We know we still have an uphill battle as far as live export is concerned but in the meantime this is a win for the industry."

Mr Joyce said the government would also scrap a policy which required memoranda of understanding to be negotiated with all overseas markets before Australian livestock could be exported.

“I have decided to reverse this decision - trade can go ahead in new markets without an MoU," he said. 

"Where there is already an MoU we are not walking away from it, we are just saying we don't need MoUs in new markets.

"This is another sign of the coalition reducing Labor’s red tape." 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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