1304. Hon JACQUI BOYDELL to the Minister for Agriculture and
I refer to the Premier's
advice that drought-affected pastoralists in the southern rangelands can access
help through the dry season response group.
(1) Who is the
chairperson of that group?
(2) Given that
the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development website has no
information, how do struggling farmers make contact with the group to seek
(3) Will the minister
visit affected pastoralists in person to hear about the challenges they face;
and when is the minister likely to do that?
ALANNAH MacTIERNAN replied:
I thank the member for the
(1)–(3) I again draw attention to the fact that the
previous government had drawn back any meaningful engagement with the
pastoral industry and there were no boots-on-the-ground inspections of any
meaningful scale that took place during its
entire time in government. As part our dry years response, we did a risk assessment
of all the pastoral stations and assessed
which ones would be most vulnerable because of this. Since July this
year, 100 stations have been visited. Indeed, I have written to every single
station and all the pastoralists with a full list of all the drought relief
that is available—particularly correcting the silly errors being made by Hon Vince Catania, the member for whatever, who
has been claiming that we need to declare a drought.
Point of Order
MARTIN ALDRIDGE: Point of order, Madam President.
PRESIDENT: I think I can predict it: you are going to remind
everyone in the house that members should be referred to by their proper title,
are you not?
Hon MARTIN ALDRIDGE: Yes,
The PRESIDENT: Great. The
member should be referred to by his electorate; the minister said, ''the
member for whatever''.
ALANNAH MacTIERNAN: Vince Catania, MLA, member for North West
Central. I remember Vince from other days, when he used to be in another party
and had another title.
The PRESIDENT: Minister, I do
acknowledge that sometimes we forget the names of the electorates of members in
the other place, so it is an easy slip.
Questions without Notice Resumed
Hon ALANNAH MacTIERNAN:
This information that we needed to
declare a drought was stopped in 1989. There is no need to declare a drought.
The exceptional circumstances that he talked about were forgone in 2008, so
that assistance is available. I have to say, I was very surprised: we checked
and no questions had actually been asked by Vince Catania until this week. As I
said, I have visited many of the pastoral stations out there in the Murchison.
We have been putting money in to assist them with cash flow. I would like to
table this document. Although we totally acknowledge that it is a very tough
season out there in very tough country, I think some of the analysis has been
quite wrong. This document demonstrates the difference in the duration of the
difficult conditions in the eastern states.
Nevertheless, we have corresponded
with all pastoralists. We have set out precisely to all of them all the
facilities that are available, and of course we will be meeting with them, as
we do regularly.
[See paper 3358.]