The Federal Nationals and State Nationals are intensifying calls for Agriculture Minister Jackie Jarvis to take immediate action to initiate crisis talks with sheep producers, buyers, and processors.
The call was strengthened by Leader of the Nationals WA Shane Love who today was joined by Senator Bridget McKenzie at the Perth Royal Show.
Mr Love said the industry is facing a complete loss of confidence and plummeting sheep prices under Labor’s impending live export ban.
“With the price of sheep in some areas falling below the cost of transportation for sale, the maintenance of stock is becoming unsustainable under Labor’s ban,” Mr Love said.
“The Minister for Agriculture is hiding behind her Federal Labor colleagues and has broken her promise to stand up for the industry. Now, after caving to their pressure, she is nowhere to be seen.
“The Cook Labor Government must restore confidence in this pivotal industry and safeguard West Australian livelihoods, as well as the mental wellbeing of our farmers by initiating crisis talks immediately.
During parliamentary discussions on this issue, Minister Jarvis admitted a lack of comprehension regarding the scale of the challenge faced by producers. When the call for crisis talks was presented to her, she acknowledged the urgency and necessity for cross-party collaboration in addressing this pressing issue.
“The Nationals have been cautioning Labor for months that a tight season and excess carry over of livestock, coupled with the substantial loss of confidence due to the live export ban, would lead to an untenable situation for farmers,” Mr Love said.
“The time for action is now – the Cook Labor Government have disregarded industry appeals and our requests, leaving the industry in need of an eleventh-hour solution.”
Senator Bridget McKenzie said the industry is screaming out for Labor to listen.
“Across Australia, communities remember the hardships of having to euthanize entire flocks due to plummeting wool prices in the 1990s,” Ms McKenzie said.
“The absence of the Federal and State Labor Ministers for Agriculture speak of Governments with no morals, willing to pull-the-rug out from under an industry while providing no consultation with its stakeholders.
“The mental health of our farmers is at stake here. This hasty decision, without proper consultation, is causing significant economic and social distress and uncertainty. Our agricultural communities deserve better.
“It’s time for Labor to step up, admit their persistent oversights, and engage with industry experts in genuine crisis talks before irreparable damage is done.”