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  • Writer's pictureFlow Australia

Budget breakfast walkout: Agriculture sector protests sheep trade shut down

In an unprecedented move at today's Agricultural Industry Budget Breakfast, the National Farmers' Federation and multiple peak agricultural bodies walked out during the Minister for Agriculture Murray Watt's address.

Together they demonstrated to the Minister he had crossed a line by announcing a radical 4-year timeline to banning live sheep exports on Saturday.

The group comprising the NFF, Wool Producers Australia, Sheep Producers Australia, Cattle Australia, Australian Livestock Export Council, WA Farmers, AgForce Queensland and NSW Farmers left the event when the Minister started talking about the ban.

“We turned our back to the Minister just like he turned his back on farmers,” NFF President David Jochinke said.

“The walkout represents what this government did to agriculture when it pursued this ideological agenda, disregarding the real-world implications this ban will have on farmers, communities, our trading relationships and animal welfare outcomes.

“It appears this Government listens to activists over agricultural experts and farmers.

Perhaps if we start behaving like activists it might listen to us.

“Overseas farmers are taking to the streets to rebel against governments who won’t listen.

We don’t want that here, but is that what our leaders want? “We are putting this government on notice. We are only just getting warmed up. There’s plenty of fight in farmers.”

Mr Jochinke said it was imperative to make a stand for the thousands of people and small businesses the trade ban would impact, but it was also much bigger than just the live sheep export trade.

“This week the Government has cancelled a viable and important industry, what industry will be next on the chopping block?

“We know the calls are already ramping up for cattle to follow suit, but what if a vocal minority decides it doesn’t like apples or cotton or dairy?

“We will fight this decision tooth and nail. Agricultural policy must be built on evidence, science and listening to farmers, not ideology and inner city vote grabbing.”


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