31 October 2018
The Nationals WA have secured a major win for the agricultural sector, after the Minister for Agriculture agreed to significant industry and committee supported changes to the Animal Welfare Amendment Bill 2017.
Member for Roe Peter Rundle said The Nationals led the charge for the Bill to be referred to a Legislative Council Parliamentary Committee in March this year.
“The bipartisan committee made a number of recommendations to improve the Animal Welfare Amendment Bill 2017 and called for the removal of several contentious clauses in the legislation,” Mr Rundle said.
“The bulk of these recommendations retained the core intent of the Bill, which would allow WA to implement the new national welfare standards without further delays.”
Mr Rundle said many elements of the Bill proved to be contentious and needed to be scrapped.
“Several clauses in the Bill would have greatly expanded the powers of the Minister and the Department of Agriculture and allowed for the creation of a new category of livestock inspectors with unrestricted access to farms, saleyards, or livestock transport vehicles.
“In addition to this, the Bill did not provide any detail around offences or punishments that WA farmers could be faced with under the new legislation.”
Spokesperson for agriculture, Colin de Grussa MLC sat on the Parliamentary Committee, and said The Nationals WA had consulted widely with industry to determine the best path forward.
“In recent months, we have received feedback from key industry groups, including WA farmers, the Pastoralists and Graziers Association of WA, and the Kimberley Pilbara Cattlemen’s Association.
“Each of these organisations were supportive of the new national standards, and agreed that animal welfare should be held to the highest standard,” Mr de Grussa said.
“However, allowing inspectors unfettered access, without cause or clarification of penalties, would cast a shadow across the agricultural sector and detract from the real intent of the Bill, which is to allow WA legislation to be updated in line with national standards.”
Mr Rundle said pressure from The Nationals WA and industry had forced the Minister to backpedal on the proposed changes.
“It appears the Minister has finally listened to these legitimate concerns and has agreed to the recommendations put forward by the Parliamentary Committee.
“This has paved the way for industry to be able to support the Bill, and will result in better animal welfare standards across the board, whilst providing industry with the certainty it needs to remain strong and viable.”