A STANDING Committee on Agriculture is to hold an inquiry into the Australian Government’s legislation to end live sheep exports.

Minister for agriculture, fisheries and forestry, Senator Murray Watt has asked the committee to produce an advisory report by 21 June, following two hearings, one in Western Australia and one in Canberra.

While the Federal Government has committed to phase out live sheep exports by sea by 1 May 2028, Senator Watt said there was a range of strong views on the policy within the industry, the community and Parliament.

“As such, I consider it important an inquiry into this legislation is undertaken prior to passage in either chamber of the Parliament,” Senator Watt said.

“An inquiry held by the House Committee would enable the participation of members whose electorates have a strong interest in the legislation.”

Senator Watt said according to independent polling the phasing out of live sheep exports was supported by more than 70% of West Australians.

A Bill to implement programs under a $107 million transition support package would make funding available as soon as possible to support sheep farmers, processors and supply-chain businesses to enable them to make decisions about their future.

Senator Watt did not believe the ban would force sheep producers out of the industry, but instead would build up the processing industry over the next four years so sheep farmers could remain profitable.

Senator Watt’s announcement follows protests by farmers, shearers and truck drivers who brought more than 1000 trucks and other farming vehicles into Perth on 31 May to protest against the decision to end live sheep exports.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has also said he will overturn the ban if he wins the next federal election.