Teal Independent Kate Chaney ‘changes mind’ on live sheep export ban

Kimberley Caines
The Nightly
Member for Curtin Kate Chaney speaks at the official launch of Sculptures by the Sea in Cottesloe
Member for Curtin Kate Chaney speaks at the official launch of Sculptures by the Sea in Cottesloe Credit: Halim Mellick/The West Australian

Teal Independent Kate Chaney has retracted her decision to support the end of the live sheep export industry after being inundated with feedback from voters about the impact the ban will have on them.

This week, the Curtin MP voted against the Albanese Government’s plan to phase out the industry in May 2028. As part of the transition efforts, affected farmers in the state will receive a $107 million package.

“I’ve changed my mind,” Ms Chaney said in a video posted on YouTube.

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“In the last few days, I’ve heard so many stories from constituents .... about the very real impacts a ban would have on their livelihoods, mental health, families and communities.

“If the industry were to continue, I would want to see strong oversight and better measures of sheep welfare than just mortality.”

The legislation has been scrutinised by farmers and the Coalition for being rushed through the Federal Parliament without proper consultation.

It comes after an inquiry examining last week’s proposal, which recommended passing but urged the Commonwealth to work closely with the WA Government to implement a transition support package and consider making additional funding available.

The inquiry was flooded with more than 13,000 submissions — almost half being form letters based on an RSPCA guide — despite running for just 18 days.

Ms Chaney said if a ban was to go ahead, she hoped the Government would consider her submission on behalf of constituents about what the transition package needed to cover.

“It’s hard to change your mind, but as a community independent, I committed to listening to my community, and that’s what I’ve done,” she said.

“I’ve agonised over this as I think every parliamentarian should over every vote.”

Nationals Leader David Littleproud said it was now the responsibility of every WA politician, including Labor MPs, to go to Canberra and vote against the ban.

“The change of heart is more about political survival and a result of the political pressure the Keep the Sheep movement has imposed, rather than one Ms Chaney philosophically supports,” Mr Littleproud said.

“East Coast politicians are destroying West Australians’ livelihoods without any scientific or economic reason.”

Federal National Party leader David Littleproud speaks to the press at the WAFarmers Conference.
Federal National Party leader David Littleproud speaks to the press at the WAFarmers Conference. Credit: Iain Gillespie/The Nightly

Labor has promised to phase out live sheep exports in the past two Federal elections after the deaths of about 2400 sheep on a ship travelling from Fremantle to the ­Middle East in 2017.

The Opposition has pledged to reinstate the industry when it gets back into power.

Fremantle MP Josh Wilson said the laws would ensure the best possible transition for affected farmers.

“For too long, sheep producers have made the best of a volatile and dying trade,” Mr Wilson said.

“Now it’s time to move forward. It’s time to make a sensible, well-managed change to a stronger, more sustainable future.”

The live export ban passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday and will now head to the Senate.

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