Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce must clarify his intentions regarding live exports to Saudi Arabia.

Media reports today have suggested the Minister is close to signing off on re-opening the live sheep export trade to Saudi Arabia. 

Saudi Arabia has in the past refused to accept Australia's world's-best animal welfare protection system (ESCAS).

Proposing an arrangement outside ESCAS threatens both the integrity of ESCAS and public confidence in the ability of our live trade sector to guarantee animal welfare standards.

But Barnaby Joyce has said publicly he believes that because facilities are government-owned, we can be confident welfare standards will be upheld.

The Opposition is not prepared to accept Barnaby Joyce's judgment on face value. 

Barnaby Joyce must provide the Opposition and the broader community with the full details of any proposal to export outside ESCAS.

ESCAS sets a high bar and convincing Australians the same standards can be guaranteed outside ESCAS will be a challenging task indeed.

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