Industry Issues, News, Rural

Regulation of Sheep and Livestock

Regulation of Sheep and Livestock

The regulation of sheep and livestock has been the hot topic this week, after the proposal of a bill by the federal government to ban the export of live sheep.

This saw a massive response from the agricultural and rural transport industry, as a convoy of more than 1000 trucks and farming vehicles drove through Perth on Friday.

As part of the Export Control Amendment (Ending Live Sheep Exports by Sea) act, which was introduced to the federal parliament’s House of Representatives last week, the industry would be cut out by 2028.

The plan announced by federal agriculture minister Murray Watt is to begin a four-year exit strategy from the industry, with a total phase out to occur by May 1, 2028.

Opposition members around Australia have responded, with WA Opposition leader Shane Love calling it a “very black day for WA” and federal Opposition leader Peter Dutton saying he’ll reinstate the industry if the Coalition is elected into government.

The head of the WA Livestock Exporters Association John Cunnington told ABC News that the industry would continue fighting the decision.

“This is a direct attack on WA producers and I find it quite disgusting to be playing with people’s livelihoods in the way they are,” he told ABC News.

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Meanwhile, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator is urging all livestock transport operators to stay safe and compliant as it releases new regulatory advice.

The new regulatory advice seeks to enhance safety across Australia’s livestock transport sector, which the NHVR says is one of the nation’s most valuable industries.

NHVR chief safety and productivity officer David Hourigan says the livestock industry isn’t always formalised like other sectors, with many agreements for transport livestock taking place on an ad-hoc basis.

“It’s a dynamic industry, with scheduling often dictated by immediate needs like upcoming sales or abattoir scheduling,” Hourigan says.

“There are additional challenges, like the need for thorough cleaning of stock crates, which not only affects biosecurity and animal welfare but can also contribute to significant delays for drivers, impacting their rest and overall fatigue management.

“With our new regulatory advice, we’re looking to bridge these gaps and ensure all parties, from primary producers to transport operators to facility owners to stock agents, understand their responsibilities.”

The NHVR’s new regulatory advice aims to simplify and demystify the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) primary duty and Chain of Responsibility (CoR) requirements for operators by focusing on specific topics or industry sectors.

The advice provides information that assists the livestock industry with clarifying who within the livestock industry is a party in the CoR and what they must do to meet HVNL obligations, as well as helping them understand the rocks associated with livestock transport activities.

The advice also identifies how CoR party collaboration can help manage risks as well as ensuring that each party understands what it should do to manage risks and the role they all play in ensuring safety is maintained.

The regulatory advice is accompanied by additional educational material from the NHVR that is intended to raise awareness among livestock industry workers who may not know how their actions can impact livestock transport safety.


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