Blayney happy to be back in ag sector
State Opposition agriculture minister Ian Blayney faced a fierce fight in the recent State election, winning a third term in the seat of Geraldton by 1.3 per cent.
A former farmer, Mr Blayney left the agricultural industry in 2009, after 25 years at his family’s 3800ha mixed farming enterprise near Geraldton.
Mr Blayney said his enthusiasm for the industry had not waned and he still missed farming.
He said there was still plenty of opportunity in agriculture in WA but “it was rarely easy”.
“I know in this part of the world, they are worried about rain, but longer term, it always comes back to costs against returns,” he said.
“Farming is relentless.”
Mr Blayney, who was appointed to the shadow role on March 30, said he was elated to again be involved with the sector, tipped to peak at $63.8 billion this year.
He is also shadow minister for fisheries and forestry and previously served on panels at the Grains Research and Development Corporation and WAFarmers. A staunch supporter of plant biotechnology, research and the potential to grow medical cannabis crops in WA, Mr Blayney said the reduction in staff at the Department of Agriculture and Food WA when the Liberals were in power had been upsetting.
“There didn’t seem to be a lot of passion or respect for research,” he said. “We were talking about agriculture taking over as an employment stimulator with the end of the mining boom, and at the same time cutting the guts out of our research capacity.”