MacTiernan tough on live exports
WA’s new Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan has warned she’ll consider tougher enforcement of animal welfare standards in the live export trade.
But Ms MacTiernan, who made no secret in the past she opposed live exports on humane grounds, said last week she was “not here to impose my personal opinions”.
She said WA Labor’s position was that live export was an important part of the agriculture sector, so her focus would be on strengthening compliance under the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System.
“Proper enforcement of ESCAS is absolutely necessary if the industry wants to maintain credibility,” she said.
She said an interesting model was the one adopted by Federal Labor of appointing an independent inspector-general of animal welfare, reporting directly to the minister.
“The degree to which that would be appropriate here is something I would need to explore. That’s one option — there may be others,” she said.
Although closure of the Wheatbelt’s Tier 3 rail network was a matter for the Transport Minister, Ms MacTiernan said as advocate for the agriculture sector she had concerns.
“We have rail that could be used, that CBH wants to use but is denied access. I certainly want to be talking to the grains industry, producers and obviously CBH and Brookfield (Rail), and then work with the Minister for Transport to see if there is a way forward,” she said. Ms MacTiernan said information she had received was that getting grain back on rail might not require major investment and existing rail lines could be fit for purpose.
“Speed restrictions on the lines because they are old and not in peak condition doesn’t preclude them from having a productive use,” she said.