ANIMAL ACTIVISM —
87. Hon JACQUI BOYDELL to the Minister for Education and
I refer to recent incidents
involving confrontations between animal activist groups and the agricultural
community, including incidents in Harvey and Muchea, and threats of activism in
Northam, which have all required police intervention to some degree.
(1) What plans
has the minister put in place to deal with any animal activist incidents that
may arise at agricultural colleges in WA, including at the Muresk Institute and
the Western Australian Colleges of Agriculture in Harvey, Narrogin, Morawa,
Cunderdin and Denmark?
(2) Is the
minister aware of any incidents or threats made towards these facilities?
(3) Has the
minister sought advice from any other government departments regarding the
threat of animal activist behaviour on these educational facilities?
I thank the member for some notice
of the question.
Department of Education has existing policy, which is supported by legislation,
to deal with intruders on public school premises. Based on this policy, all
five colleges of agriculture have plans or protocols in place. Under regulation
75 of the School Education Regulations 2000, the principal is authorised to
order a person to leave the school premises. When a person does not comply with
this order, the principal will contact the
police. Muresk Institute has the option of locking the gates into the farming
enterprise and monitoring traffic coming through the main entrance.
Staff have been advised to call the Northam Police Station to attend the site
to ask the activists to move on. Muresk employs security guards to monitor
after-hours activity. Based on police advice, the procedure to be followed by
staff and students is to not engage with activist group members and to withdraw
and remain indoors when possible.
(2) There have
been no incidents or threats to facilities at the five Western Australian
Colleges of Agriculture. The Department of Training and Workforce Development
staff at Muresk Institute were advised on 15 February 2019 that an animal
activist group may be attending the site, but this did not eventuate. Local
police instituted a checkpoint at the entrance road to Muresk and members of
the state support unit attended the site to review security measures.
officers of the Department of Education and the Western Australia Police Force
are working together to ensure that local
police support is available to each of the agricultural colleges in the event
of an animal activist incident, if required. The Western Australia
Police Force has provided advice to Muresk Institute on security measures. I want
to acknowledge the prompt and appropriate response of the Western Australia
Police Force in attending Muresk at short notice to manage a potentially
volatile situation, and the cooperation and support of the Northam shire
president. In addition, the office of the Minister for Agriculture and Food and
the office of the Minister for Police have been contacted by my office to be
kept up to date in relation to educational facilities.