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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 624 asked in the Legislative Council on 14 September 2017 by Hon Jacqui Boydell

Minister responding: Hon A. MacTiernan
Parliament: 40 Session: 1
Answered on 14 September 2017

      624. Hon JACQUI BOYDELL to the Minister for Agriculture and Food:
I refer to the media statement that the minister released yesterday about record investment in wild dog action.
      (1) Can the minister explain why $4 million is gone from the Wild Dog Action Plan funded by the previous state government, yet this government claims it is making a record investment in wild dog control?
      (2) What action is the government taking or encouraging to maintain state barrier fence integrity in accordance with its declared pest management obligations through the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007?
      (3) Will the minister confirm if a planned extension of the state barrier fence from Ravensthorpe to Cape Arid National Park is going ahead?
      (4) Can the minister commit to a transparent and rapid review of the BAM act to ensure greater involvement and funding of recognised biosecurity groups in developing pest management controls in WA?
I thank the member for the question.
      (1)–(4) This question provides me with a great opportunity to talk about what the government is doing about wild dog control. I really want to compliment Hon Kyle McGinn and Hon Darren West for the great support they have given me to fight for this great package for wild dog control. For over eight and a half years the previous government spent $9.2 million of royalties for regions money on wild dog control. I do not criticise the former government for what it did, but this government is going to do more. Over the next term, we are going to spend $18.6 million to get on top of this very difficult issue. I have already released $3.95 million to be spent over three years for priority action. We have already signed off on the employment of eight licenced pest management technicians, a program to support veterinary students from Murdoch University to sterilise dogs in remote communities and the establishment of a contestable process for cell fencing.
      Today we have seen a rather incomprehensible media release from ''Bro'' Barnaby. We make it very clear that we want to do more. We want to do the exclusion fence and to extend it. We absolutely want to ramp up maintenance and do some capital investment in the existing state barrier fence. It is an absolutely critical part of the infrastructure to contain wild dogs and to allow, particularly in the Murchison, the re-establishment of a viable sheep industry. I encourage the member to get behind us and support Western Australia by going into bat and asking why we are getting around $3 million from the federal government when Queensland has got $9 million—in fact, some argue that Queensland got even more for its wild dog control. ''Bro'' can no longer complain that he is uncertain about the level of our commitment. In the budget is a commitment of $18.6 million alone for royalties for regions. We believe that we deserve a bit better.
      I am really looking forward to the wild dog forum tomorrow. I know that some members of this chamber will also be attending that forum. We will sit down and hear various views from the industry about what the priorities are and how we take this forward, but we are acting already and we will continue to act to get on top of this problem.
The PRESIDENT: Before I give anyone else the call, I remind the minister that when we refer to other members of Parliament—I acknowledge that the particular individual is not from this Parliament—we refer to them by their full name or title, rather than ''Bro''.