Australia to phase out live sheep exports by sea


The Australian Government has announced that the export of live sheep by sea will end on May 1, 2028, the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) has confirmed.

Legislation will be introduced in this term of the Australian Parliament to end the trade in law.

DAFF added that trade can continue until the end date without any additional restrictions such as caps or quotas. The prohibition will not apply to other livestock export industries, such as live cattle exports, nor will it apply to live sheep exports by air.

These decisions are consistent with the recommendations of the Independent Panel provided to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Murray Watt, on October 25, 2023 following extensive consultation with stakeholders.

The Australian Government considered the Independent Panel report and developed a response to implement the phase out in an orderly way.

The government considers that a firm date for the end of the trade, enacted through legislation, provides certainty and time for adjustments to be made.

An end date means that impacted individuals, businesses, and communities can now plan for a future without live sheep exports by sea.

Consistent with the recommendations of the Independent Panel, the government response provides for a transition plan and transition support package.

A range of existing government programs will support delivery of the recommendations in key areas like labour and competition.

From March to October 2023, the panel met with over 2,000 people and received over 4,100 submissions and survey responses. Consultation did not consider the merits or otherwise of the government’s policy to phase out live sheep exports by sea.


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