The planned phase out of the live sheep trade would cause an economic hit to Western Australia's North Eastern Wheatbelt Region ranging from $39 million to $128 million over 20 years.
That's one of the findings from a newly released economic impact report commissioned by the North Eastern Wheatbelt Regional Organisation of Councils.
The report found that direct price and value related impacts would likely see impacts to the NEWROC economy ranging from $39m to $47m in present value terms over the next two decades, increasing to $79m to $128m when flock size and sale related impacts are also considered.
Factoring in how sheep farm expenditure, employment and incomes affect local and regional communities adds a further $21m to $35m in economic impact.
The NEWROC region comprises the local government areas of Koorda, Mt Marshall, Mukinbudin, Nungarin, Trayning, Wyalkatchem and Dowerin.
The organisation has this week sent a delegation to Canberra to meet with federal politicians to highlight that if the government proceeds with the phaseout, they will need to significantly invest in and financially compensate farmers, communities and local economies that will be impacted by the policy.
NEWROC chair Melanie Brown said phasing out the trade would have significant economic impacts on NEWROC farmers, communities and local economies.
"The commissioned Econosis report indicates that the potential impact on the NEWROC economy of implementing the proposed policy is between $39 million and $128 million dollars in economic output over 20 years," she said.
"This prediction is dependent on the loss of the live sheep export impacting on price alone or the overall flock size diminishing, resulting in further impact on households and community."
Cr Brown said the region was reliant on the agricultural sector, with 349 businesses registered as having an agricultural base in the area.
"The economic output of the sheep industry in the overall NEWROC region is higher than in other parts of Western Australia," she said.
"Mt Marshall and Koorda Shires have the highest economic output generated by the sheep industry in the NEWROC at approximately 9 per cent, confirming the critical importance of the sheep industry to the region.
"Deterioration in animal welfare is a great concern, as supply to the Middle East will shift from a high quality animal welfare regulated industry in Australia, to far less regulated countries supplying sheep.
"It should be noted that there has not been a reportable mortality incident in the live sheep export industry for five years.
"Less regulated countries filling the supply chain to the Middle East undermines the fundamental rationale of the proposed new policy."