PM proving weak on sheep trade: Labor

A report into the northern summer live sheep export trade is due to be released this week

Senior Labor frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon has accused the prime minister of weak leadership after a review of the live sheep exports trade was delayed.

The report by livestock veterinarian Michael McCarthy is now with the government, but the public release of its findings and recommendations have been delayed for 24 hours.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud had commissioned the report into live sheep exports after horrific footage was released showing sheep dying on a ship from Western Australia to the Middle East in 2016.

Mr Fitzgibbon said despite all the feigned anger by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and promises of swift action nothing has changed in the trade.

"Malcolm Turnbull said he wanted to take a science-based approach to this very large issue, well the science is in, apparently, and its time Malcolm Turnbull to act," he told reporters, having travelled to Canberra for the report's release.

But a cabinet minister said the government won't make a "knee-jerk" reaction to the report.

"The key thing we would like to avoid is making the same mistake as has been made in the past, as has been made by the former Labor government," Resources Minister Matt Canavan told ABC radio.

The report went to the Agriculture Minister and cabinet this week.

"What did cabinet actually talk about last night? Did David Littleproud take something to cabinet that went too far or didn't go far enough?" Labor frontbencher Jenny McAllister said.

Senator McAllister said it was a high-risk time for live sheep exports in the northern hemisphere, and the industry can't guarantee the welfare of animals during this period.