Farmers reassure Kuwait

Federal Member for O’Connor and Shadow Assistant Minister for Trade Rick Wilson MP has hand-delivered a letter from Western Australian farming leaders to the largest recipient nation of Australian live sheep asking it to bear with them while they work to overturn Federal Labor’s planned ban on live exports.

“When in Kuwait recently, it was my solemn duty to deliver the letter to the Undersecretary of the Minister of Commerce and Industry Mr Ziad Abdullah Alnajem,” Mr Wilson said.

“The WA Farmers Federation and the Pastoralists & Graziers Association of WA had heard I was travelling to the Middle East in my capacity as Shadow Assistant Minister for Trade, and asked that I formally present the correspondence to the Government of Kuwait.

“Kuwait is a very important trading partner for Australia, receiving more live sheep from us than any other nation, as well as sheep meat, barley, dairy, fruit and vegetables mostly produced by WA farmers.”

The letter from WA’s two main farming groups stresses that Labor’s planned live export ban is driven by political expediency, not by science and facts, a point with which Mr Wilson strongly agrees.

“As a lifelong wheat and sheep farmer before entering Federal Parliament a decade ago, I stand with WA’s live sheep exporters, and through them with the people of Kuwait who rely on the industry for food security.

“Kuwait has embraced the Export Supply Chain Assurance Scheme that has dramatically improved animal welfare in markets across the Middle East.

“If Labor succeeds in banning live exports from Australia, Kuwait will be left in the lurch, having to source live sheep from nations that are less reliable suppliers.”

In Kuwait, Mr Wilson reiterated the farming groups’ message that WA’s farmers stand ready to continue their long-standing and mutually beneficial live sheep trade with the nation.

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