The Nationals welcome live sheep exports to Saudi Arabia

08 January 2024

Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has welcomed the first live sheep shipment overnight from Australia to Saudi Arabia since 2011.

Mr Littleproud said Saudi Arabia reopening the market to Australia was a game-changer and proved the live sheep industry should not be phased out.

“It is a welcome development that 5000 sheep have been shipped from Australia to Saudi Arabia, to enjoy our high quality product,” Mr Littleproud said.

“Labor must now rule out their senseless phasing out of live sheep exports. Saudi’s decision to take live sheep from Australia again proves that there is demand for live sheep. It makes no sense at all to be shutting down an industry, just as a huge new market opens up.”

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Livestock Collective Director Steven Bolt said it was a fantastic development and the shipment was part of a larger 60,000-live sheep consignment to the Middle East.

“It is such an important shipment to renew our trade with the Saudi market,” Mr Bolt said.

“Saudi was once our biggest buyer of west Australian live sheep and we look forward to rebuilding our trade relationship. This is further proof that Australian sheep are highly sought after and it’s such an important part of the mixed farming industry.

“We certainly strongly oppose federal Labor’s policy to phase out or ban the live export trade.”

Australian Livestock Exporters Council CEO Mark Harvey-Sutton said live sheep would always be highly sought after in the Middle East.

“This shows that this is not a declining industry and there is opportunity for growth,” Mr Harvey-Sutton said.

“The region seeks livestock because of their consumer and cultural preferences.”

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Almost 640,000 live sheep were exported from Western Australia last year, which is a 41 per cent year-on-year increase.
Farming groups have also recently written to Agriculture Minister Murray Watt, arguing for exports to be resumed from the east coast, given the reopening of trade with Saudi Arabia.

“Labor isn’t listening and still wants to destroy the livelihoods of more than 3000 people who work in the trade and an industry worth $85 million,” Mr Littleproud said. “A future Coalition Government with The Nationals will reinstate the live sheep export trade.”