Today Labor calls on the Morrison Government to come clean and release both the Heat Stress Risk Assessment for live exports review report and the Independent Pegasus report into the Biosecurity Import Levy.
Minister Littleproud extended the submission deadline for the Heat Stress Risk Assessment for live sheep exports review until 1 March 2019 and stated that “Interim arrangements for the coming Northern summer can be considered once the submission period has ended.”
“The time has come and gone and the Northern summer is just around the corner, sheep farmers, exporters and the broader Australian community want to know what the Government will do to ensure the welfare of Australian sheep,” Libby Coker said.
“The people of Corangamite are disappointed with Sarah Henderson’s back down from her co-sponsored bill in the Parliament to end the live sheep trade within five years’ time and the delay of the Heat Stress Risk Assessment will further add to their disappoint and distrust in the Morrison Government.”
The Pegasus report was commissioned to provide the Minister for Agriculture an independent perspective to the consultation process for the implementation of the Biosecurity Import Levy. It was provided to the Minister last week at a cost $45,000 dollars, but once again the Morrison Government is choosing to keep it a secret.
“Yesterday we had the extraordinary situation of 14 Industry groups calling on the Morrison Government to remove the Biosecurity Import Levy revenue from the Budget because of the breakdown in consultations about the design of the levy. To commence the rebuilding of trust on the design and implementation of the Biosecurity Import Levy, David Littleproud must release the Pegasus report today,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.
Ironically, the Morrison Government is now also talking about setting up a steering committee to “better inform Government on improving the proposed biosecurity levy scheme design”, yet refuses to release the Pegasus report.
If the Morrison Government continues to keep both reports a secret the Australian community will have little choice but to believe the Government’s actions are covering up calls for significant change to both the live sheep export trade and to the design and implementation of the Biosecurity Import Levy.