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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 917 asked in the Legislative Council on 22 August 2019 by Hon Robin Scott

Minister responding: Hon A. MacTiernan
Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on 22 August 2019

AGRICULTURAL PRODUCE COMMISSION AMENDMENT BILL 2019

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

I wish to ask a follow-up question to the question I asked the minister last week about the proposed changes to the Agricultural Produce Commission Act 1988.

(1) Will the minister acknowledge that broadacre farmers already pay substantial levies to federal bodies, such as the Grains Research and Development Corporation, for marketing and research and development functions?

(2) If yes to (1), what distinct broadacre marketing or broadacre research and development functions would a state-based body perform, as separate from its existing federal counterpart?

(3) When broadacre exports are worth in excess of $6 billion annually, does the minister believe that consultation with one representative body is sufficient?

(4) Will the minister concede that according to the compliance provisions in part 3A of the bill, an authorised officer could direct that a farmer produce his own documents before the officer in the farmer's own home?

Hon ALANNAH MacTIERNAN replied:

I thank the member for the question.

(1)–(3) It may well be the case that broadacre farmers do not vote in favour of establishing a producers' committee or a levy under the act. We are simply aiming at giving the industry the option to do so should they wish to avail themselves of a mechanism that has proved very useful for other agricultural sectors.

I say again that this can only go forward; it would translate into a levy only if a producer made an application to the Agricultural Produce Commission and, if it goes to a vote, affected producers vote in favour of establishing a producers' committee. This is not something that we are going to be imposing; this is something that simply will be a facilitation.

(4) No. A direction to produce a relevant document as defined in proposed part 3A must be given in writing, and an authorised officer is not given power to enter any premises, let alone a dwelling. For this reason, although a written direction to produce a relevant record may require that the record be produced ''at a place specified'' or ''by the means specified'', this will not authorise a direction that ''a farmer produce his own documents before the officer in the farmer's own home''.