Trade players reject sheep ban call

LOCAL business and industry groups have rejected calls for a ban on the export of live sheep from Fremantle Port.

Western Australia's first lower house Greens MP, recently elected Fremantle representative Adele Carles, called for the ban in her maiden speech to parliament last week.

Ms Carles said the sheep trade was a blight on the port city because it was unsightly and malodorous

The nation's largest livestock exporter and second largest live sheep exporter, Fremantle-based Wellard Group, has an annual turnover of $140 million, thanks to its sheep export operations out of Fremantle.

Wellard Middle East live export manager Gary Robinson is not surprised with the comments from Ms Carles.

"It's a typical response one would expect from someone who has little affinity with the agricultural industry and its relevance for Western Australia," Mr Robinson said.

"We've done the best part of a million sheep in the last year ... so you're talking in the order of $140 million turnover annually.

"It's a significant part of our business in Fremantle and we've made a large investment in infrastructure in terms of pre-quarantine inspection facilities, trucks and now we're actually owners of the vessels we use to transport the sheep."

However, Mr Robinson welcomes a possible move of live export operations to a regional port, considering it may eventually have to move from its historic home under pressure from local communities.

The Western Australian Farmers Federation reiterated its support for the trade.

"WAFarmers encourages anyone, including Adele Carles, to take the time to learn more about the live export trade, its many benefits to the state and its value to industry," meat section president Jeff Murray said.

The live export industry employs about 13,000 people across the country and contributes $1.8 billion to the economy.


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