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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 980 asked in the Legislative Council on 5 September 2019 by Hon Robin Scott

Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on 5 September 2019

AGRICULTURAL PRODUCE COMMISSION ACT — BROADACRE EXEMPTION

980. Hon ROBIN SCOTT to the Minister for Agriculture and Food:

I refer to the government's proposed amendments to the Agricultural Produce Commission.

(1) Why was the broadacre industry exempted from the Agricultural Produce Commission Act 1988 at the time it was passed?

(2) The APC's position is that the broadacre exemption in the act is discriminatory, which is why it should be removed. Is there any other reason it is now proposed to remove the broadacre exemption?

(3) The APC managed approximately $3.5 million in funds last year. When the broadacre industry is worth over $6 billion in exports alone, does the minister concede that removing the broadacre exemption could dramatically expand the operations of the APC?

(4) If yes to (3), how does the government plan to handle that expansion?

Hon ALANNAH MacTIERNAN replied:

I thank the member for the question.

(1) The Agricultural Produce Commission Act was originally the Horticultural Produce Commission Act when first introduced in 1988. This act was amended in 2001 to broaden the scope of its application to agricultural producers, becoming the APC act. As part of that amendment process, the broadacre exemption was also introduced, reflecting a lack of consistent industry support at that time for the APC to apply to the broadacre sector.

(2) During the APC's industry consultation on this question in 2017, support for the removal of the exemption was received from the WA Beef Council, the Sheep Industry Leadership Council and the South East Premium Wheat Growers Association. I was subsequently contacted by WAFarmers to indicate its strong support for the removal of the exemption.

(3) The degree by which the APC would expand, if at all, would depend on whether industry chose to establish a committee, what services it chose to provide and the level of funding collected. Any funds collected would belong to the producer committee, not to the APC.

(4) This would be evaluated if and when the industry chooses to establish any additional producer committees. Any activities undertaken are managed by the producer committees themselves.