The campaign to keep the live sheep trade open received a major boost this week when the federal government granted an export license to a company linked to Emmanuel Exports.
Emmanuel Exports was at the centre of the crisis that engulfed the live-ex industry in April, when 60 Minutes aired footage of sheep suffering on a voyage to the Middle East.
Since then the federal government has implemented restriction on the live sheep trade for trips to the Middle East during the summer months.
Meanwhile, the industry is still sweating on the release of the Moss Review - a report into the culture, capability and investigative powers of the live export industry’s independent regulator.
Commissioned by the Agriculture Minister David Littleproud, that report was expected to be delivered in late August but has yet to be released, following ongoing delays.
Agriculture David Littleproud told the National Farmers’ Federation congress in Canberra this week the Moss review would be released soon and it could put the industry on a sustainable footing.
However, the timing has sparked claims from the federal Opposition that the report would be delivery released after the important Wentworth byelection in Sydney tomorrow.
If Liberal candidate David Sharma loses the contest in the electorate of the former PM, the Coalition will be a minority government.
Mr Littleproud said later this month the report, and the government response, would be released..
“Mr Moss requested more time to get the review right and there were subsequent matters the department has to respond to raised in the report,” Mr Littleproud said.
“The live sheep trade remains open and will remain open under a Coalition Government.
Given the Moss Review deals with the functions and culture of the regulator and not the rules around the live sheep trade, it will not make a significant difference in the day to day operations of sheep ships.”
Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon said he understood the Moss Report had been on Minister Littleproud’s desk for months, and called on the Minister to explain the delay in releasing it.
“The release of the Morrison Government’s review into the culture within the live export regulator is now eight weeks late but that hasn’t stopped their approval of a shipment of 130,000 sheep from Perth to Kuwait,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.
“It seems everything the Government has done lately is determined through the prism of the Wentworth by-election. If the Moss review has been delayed because of Wentworth then it suggests we shouldn’t expect meaningful reform.”
“Minister Littleproud must come out of hiding to explain why he is keeping the Moss review report a secret.”