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Live exports regulator 'conflicted': Ley

The live export industry regulator should be separated from the Department of Agriculture and established as an independent body, Liberal MPs Sussan Ley and Sarah Henderson say.

The department reviewed the deaths of 2400 sheep in extreme heat on the Middle East-bound Awassi Express last year because the mortality rate was 3.76 per cent, well above the two per cent accepted standard, but it found no breaches of export regulations.

After footage of the voyage was broadcast in April, however, the department described the conditions as "deplorable and unacceptable".

Ms Ley, who introduced a private members bill to phase out live sheep exports to the Middle East during the northern summer, said the regulator should not "sit" within the department.

"The regulator is riddled with conflicts of interest including that it be required to simultaneously police the live export trade as well as promote live exports," she said in a joint statement with Ms Henderson.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud announced a review into the department's "capabilities, investigative capacity and culture" by former public servant Philip Moss in April.

Mr Moss is also considering whether an inspector-general of livestock exports will be useful and is expected to hand down his report next month.

Separating the regulator from within the department is expected to be a key recommendation.

Meanwhile, Mr Littleproud has rejected a call by WA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan to provide financial assistance to sheep farmers suffering from the halt to live exports to the Middle East.

Australian shipments ground to a halt after the Awassi Express scandal, which ultimately saw the company behind the shipment, Emanuel Exports, lose its licence.

The other major company servicing that market, Livestock Shipping Services, voluntarily switched its focus to South America.

"Government does not compensate when a market player is removed by relevant authorities," Mr Littleproud said.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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