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Australian Cattle Council : Yearbook 2015
YEARBOOK2015 CATTLE COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA 78 The PGA works with industry through the Western Livestock Committee. Mr Digby Stretch, sheep and woolgrower of Kojonup, chairs this committee. Mr David Lovelock, specialist cattle producer of New Norcia who also sits on this committee, is a long serving PGA representative to the Cattle Council of Australia. Live Export It is the PGA’s firm belief that live export has an on-going role to play in the future prosperity of Western Australian farm businesses. Livestock exporters and primary producers are partners in the industry. The PGA is pleased to note that new markets are opening and better access to existing markets is becoming available in the wake of the negotiation of successful Free Trade Agreements. It is also apparent that the current government has worked exceedingly hard to repair the damage done by the previous Labor Government to Australia’s international reputation as a reliable supplier. Further, new cost recovery arrangements for live animal exports were introduced in 2014. Prior to this, only fee for service cost recovery was being done, so the department loaded its system costs into the fees through higher hourly rates. It appears total cost recovery for live export has decreased, from $11 million to $7.3 million. Senate Inquiry into the Criminal Code Amendment (Animal Protection) Bill 2015 The PGA supports this private Senator’s Bill that was read into the Senate by Senator Chris Back. The PGA says that many of the assertions of animal cruelty made by animal rights activists are either anonymous or not reported in real time. Until allegations are submitted as either evidence or testimony that cruelty will continue until animal activists see fit to release their material in pursuit of their extremist desire to end all animal related enterprises. Activists are not impartial. They do not seek to use the usual avenues open to the public to prosecute their agendas. They use the court of public opinion. When animal activists make a release of inflammatory material into the public domain, the onus must be on them to prove its veracity. The release of such material outside of Australia’s system of courts is an attempt to manipulate the law by moulding public sentiment in pursuit of their own strategy. Senate Inquiry into the Effect of Market Consolidation on the Red Meat Processing Sector The PGA made a short submission to the inquiry in support of Cattle Council. In it, the PGA noted that markets can be tough, unpleasant and difficult places in which to operate. Competition should be judged on the bases of efficiencies and capacity, and a failure to compete should not be protected by legislation. There is a difference between the use of market power, and its misuse. Legislative protection should only be invoked when companies (or individuals) are using their market power to engage in malicious activities that are anti-competitive. Senate Inquiry into the Cattle Transaction Levy In July this year, the PGA became aware of this bill. Astute readers will note that that a similar bill (Voice for Animals (Independent Office of Animal Welfare Bill 2013) was read into the Senate and the House of Representatives by members of the Australian Greens in June 2013. At that time, this bill had reached the stage of a ‘second reading’ but had not been considered in detail. The bill lapsed with the dissolution of the 43rd parliament. The PGA does not support an Independent Office of Animal Welfare for the simple reason that it is not required. Even the most cursory look at the policies, principles, rules and guidelines surrounding animal welfare will show that it is already complicated, intricate and involved. It is difficult to see how any more legislation, or legislative offices, or office holders, could be an improvement. If the objective of uniform legal regulation governing the process from beginning to end is to be pursued, then it should be to simplify the process so that livestock producers can go about their legitimate business activities, with clear regulatory guidance from governments. Pastoralists and Graziers Association of WA The PGA was established in 1907 and represents progressive meat and wool producers in both the pastoral and agricultural regions of Western Australia.