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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 683 asked in the Legislative Council on 11 October 2017 by Hon Kyle Mcginn

Minister responding: Hon A. MacTiernan
Parliament: 40 Session: 1
Answered on 11 October 2017

PASTORAL LEASES — ECOLOGICAL COMPLIANCE — AUDITOR GENERAL REPORT
      683. Hon KYLE McGINN to the Minister for Agriculture and Food:
Today the Auditor General tabled a very damning report on the state government's performance in monitoring ecological compliance of pastoral leases. Will the minister comment on the findings?
Hon ALANNAH MacTIERNAN replied:
I thank the member for the question. I note the member's fierce advocacy for the Mining and Pastoral Region and note that he was the only member from the Mining and Pastoral Region, together with an adviser of the Minister for Environment, who attended the Auditor General's briefing. That is a bit disappointing. It is a very serious wake-up call. I urge members to read this —
Hon Nick Goiran: When was the briefing by the Auditor General?
Hon ALANNAH MacTIERNAN: It was on today.
Hon Nick Goiran: At what time?
Hon ALANNAH MacTIERNAN: I understand that the briefing was at one o'clock, which is decided by the Auditor General. I am not sure whether the member is aware but the Auditor General tabled the report, via the President, in Parliament today. A briefing on this matter was organised by the Auditor General, who reports independently to Parliament.
Several members interjected.
The PRESIDENT: Order, members! If you do not interject, the minister will reply swiftly.
Hon ALANNAH MacTIERNAN: I am just amazed at the lack of understanding and knowledge of the role of the Auditor General.
Point of Order
Hon NICK GOIRAN: The minister has made a reference to members for the Mining and Pastoral Region not attending a briefing in Parliament at one o'clock today when the Legislative Council was in session. We started at one o'clock?
Hon Donna Faragher: Correct.
Hon NICK GOIRAN: Madam President, it is highly disorderly of the minister to be making an assertion along those lines of members who were required at the ringing of the bells to be here in this place and I ask you to direct her to withdraw those remarks.
The PRESIDENT: I will not take that as a point of order. I did not specifically hear the minister's reference to members from the Mining and Pastoral Region; I only heard her refer to the fact that Hon Kyle McGinn and one other person attended the briefing. I think the minister will be providing her answer to Hon Kyle McGinn in a very clear and concise manner. This is not a time for ministerial statements. I encourage the minister to provide an appropriate response and we can then move on.
Questions without Notice Resumed
Hon ALANNAH MacTIERNAN: I thank the member. I certainly do not negatively reflect on any of the Pastoral and Mining representatives in this place. I urge them to avail themselves of this report. It really shows that there has been a substantial taking the eye off of the ball between the years 2009 to 2016 in the monitoring of past releases by both the Department of Lands and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development. There has been a dramatic decline in both the level of compliance over those years, and a real decline in the amount of research being done to provide guidance to pastoralists on how they can deal with and make these very fragile environments more sustainable.
I also note that much work has been done. During that same time that we saw the drop-off of inspections and the drop-off of research, we saw an expansion of the department's marketing activity. Hundreds of thousands of dollars was spent on overseas trips looking for new markets so that we could double the beef production in our pastoral lands. I think it is pretty clear that we need to redirect those resources now into focusing on ensuring that we have sustainable practices on our pastoral lands, and that we assist those pastoralists in the way they want to be assisted to increase the productivity of those lands.