AGRICULTURAL PRODUCE COMMISSION AMENDMENT BILL 2019
810. Hon ROBIN SCOTT to the Minister for Agriculture and Food:
Last week the minister outlined
changes to support producers' committees under the Agricultural Produce
(1) The minister
claimed that she got industry input into this policy. WAFarmers does not
represent the pastoral industry in Western Australia. Who did the government
consult outside WAFarmers before announcing these changes?
already pay a substantial levy to Meat and Livestock Australia for marketing
and research purposes. Will the functions of the new producers'
committees not simply be a doubling up of existing functions?
(3) When the
minister appoints the Agricultural Produce Commission, and producers'
committees have to answer to that body, will the producers' committees
be able to advocate effectively for pastoralists or is this a case of the foxes
watching the henhouse?
ALANNAH MacTIERNAN replied:
I thank the member for the question.
will be a complex structure of legislation, but I make it clear that it has
never been the government's intention to include pastoralism in this
process. The government is well aware of the position of the Pastoralists and
Graziers Association—not that it necessarily represents the majority of
pastoralists—but we are quite clear that there has not been any
expression of interest from that sector to be included in this. We are
proposing the removal of an exemption. The next step will be the description,
under a regulation, of the industry that potentially will be the subject of a producers
committee. I give the member a firm commitment that pastoralism will be
excluded from the definition in the regulations so that that does not even come
within the four corners. After we have put in broadacre cropping and associated
livestock in the farming areas, a producer will then have to approach the
commission and say, ''We want to do this.'' It then will have to
go out to a vote of all those producers, and the majority of producers will
have to vote in favour of it before a committee is established. That committee
elected by the members will then go through a further process to determine
whether it will include a levy. But it has not been the government's
intention at all to include pastoralism in that. I am happy to give the member
a commitment that the regulation will be phrased in such a way to exclude