Minister revives rangelands reform
Rangelands reform is back on the State Government agenda after WA Lands Minister Rita Saffioti committed to restarting the process.
Last week Ms Saffioti said she intended consulting with industry and community in the next six to 12 months before starting renewed negotiations and consultations.
Former lands minister Terry Redman had failed to get draft legislation on the cabinet agenda in the face of resistance from Pastoralists and Graziers Association.
The lobby group was accused of using its influence within the Liberal Party to ensure it would not see the light of day.
But PGA president Tony Seabrook said Mr Redman “only had himself to blame” for its failure because of his unwillingness to negotiate with them on how the Pastoral Lands Board would function in the future.
What followed was a war of words between Mr Seabrook and Mr Redman, with the latter attacking the PGA over its influence over the Liberal Party.
Ironically, at the time, Mr Seabrook admitted pastoralists could find themselves “a damn sight worse off” if Labor won the State election in March.
One of the hot topics to be fleshed out will be the future role of the Pastoral Lands Board with previous tensions between the PGA and Mr Redman related to the implementation of a broader advisory group taking in representatives from conservation, tourism, mining and other stakeholders.
“My understanding is that Ms Safiotti’s comments about reviving rangelands reform were just anecdotal,” Mr Seabrook said.
“But we're very surprised if the minister is off talking to industry and community before they have consulted the peak body responsible for representing pastoralists,” he said.
Mr Seabrook said he was concerned the DoL was still brooding over the failure of Mr Redman's reforms package.
“We remain concerned over any attempt to arrest power from the PLB and put it in the hands of a minister or the DoL,” he said.
“The reason for that is that it will jeopardise the value of a pastoral lease.”