IN THE NEWS: On AUG 22, 2018
The company at the centre of a horrific live exports scandal involving the deaths of thousands of sheep at sea has had its licence to export animals permanently cancelled.
The Department of Agriculture announced the decision to cancel Emanuel Exports' licence late on Tuesday night saying it was for the protection of Australia's animal welfare standards.
Emanuel Exports was, until recently, run by Graham Daws and his son Nicholas. Graham Daws stepped aside as director after footage filmed on the Emanuel-operated Awassi Express live export ship showed thousands of sheep effectively "cooking" to their deaths in searing temperatures.
The Daws have three licences to export sheep and have tried to use two of them to export nearly 60,000 sheep to Kuwait. But they were forced to abandon their export when hit with a suspension of two licences over issues relating to past voyages, newly uncovered after the Awassi Express scandal.
The department released a statement saying that it was the responsiblity of the exporters to provide "complete, accurate information to the regulator as to how regulatory standards and licence conditions will be met and have been met".
"Failure to meet these requirements significantly undermines the legislative regime and, in turn, compromises the ability of the industry to export livestock in a manner that ensures the health and welfare of livestock," the statement said.
"Cancellation of licence is a serious step and is not one taken lightly. The department is satisfied that this is the most appropriate response."
The department said a section of the legislation governing live exports, requiring an exporter to be of integrity, was key in underpinning its decision.
That scandal triggered two reviews, one into the trade itself and another into the independent regulator - the department - which cleared the Awassi Express voyage, despite the number of sheep that died reaching nearly double the limit at which point an automatic review is triggered.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has imposed stricter conditions on the live export trade, including permitting fewer sheep on voyages and increasing the space they must be allowed while at sea, as a result, the export industry has all but dried up.
The government does not support a ban, but is under intense internal pressure to phase it out with two government backbenchers, Sarah Henderson and Sussan Ley, co-sponsoring a bill for a ban.
The bill is supported by Labor. A similar bill is being debated separately in the Senate and is likely to win the support required for its passage.