Chairman of the ALEC, Simon Crean, said the appointment of Westaway comes at a “critical time” for Australia’s meat exporting industry.
“The live trade continues to be the subject of close scrutiny and questions continue to be asked about our commitment to transparency and improvement in animal welfare,” said Crean in a statement from the ALEC.
“While we are very proud of Australia’s role in a sophisticated and professional global livestock supply chain, we acknowledge the system is not perfect. That’s why we are determined to be transparent in addressing the concerns of all stakeholders, finding common ground in solutions which support an ethical and economically viable live trade.”
Putting a positive spin on Australia’s meat exports will be a top priority for Westaway, who will have to use his experience of corporate communication across government, aviation, tourism and health to shape public perception of the meat industry.
Crean said he hoped Westaway would help support changes across the meat export industry to address concerns about the welfare of Australian livestock.
Westaway succeeds incumbent CEO Alison Penfold, whose four-and-a-half year tenure finished in July.
“Alison leaves our organisation in much stronger shape to meet the significant opportunities and challenges facing our industry,” Crean said.
“Alison has overseen fundamental changes in the way the livestock export business operates. We thank her for her legacy and she goes with our best wishes for the future.”
A former Meat and Livestock Australia executive, Dr Peter Barnard, is working as interim CEO of the ALEC, with Westaway set to start his new role in coming weeks.