Agriculture Primary Industry

Council's Amendments - Primary Industries Legislation Amendment Bill

30th August 2016

Council’s amendments

Mr WALSH (Murray Plains) — I will make a small contribution on the upper house amendments to the Primary Industries Legislation Amendment Bill 2016. The coalition will be supporting both those sets of amendments. After listening to the previous speaker I note that I do not believe the amendments should be split at all.

With the Biological Control Act 1984 related changes, the minister contacted us between houses to say that the government was going to introduce a house amendment to enable this measure to happen, and I think it is good. The amendments bring the legislation into line with commonwealth legislation and mean that the new rabbit control, K5, can be released potentially mid next year. If you think about rabbit control over the time, with myxomatosis having been first introduced back in the 1950s and when a calicivirus was introduced in the late 1980s and early 1990s, you see they had a major impact on the control of rabbits right across Australia. Obviously the effectiveness of those particular controls gradually wanes over time, so having another arrow for our arsenal I think is a very good thing and can be released next year. So these changes are very sensible and just implement what has been the nationally agreed target.

The second amendment is about getting rid of the Emergency Closures Advisory Committee and empowering the Game Management Authority to actually carry out those roles. I think it is a very sensible amendment. When we were in government we set up the Game Management Authority to do this. It has the skills and it has the scientific knowledge to give advice to the minister. Having both bodies duplicates that role and creates confusion. We all saw the absolute disaster of the process around the closure of Lake Elizabeth in the duck season, and this amendment means that those sorts of things will not happen in the future. We support the amendments to get rid of the emergency closures committee and give its powers to the Game Management Authority. That was designed to happen when the Game Management Authority was set up, so this amendment just gives those powers to the authority in the future.

On the issue of whether duck shooting is good or whether duck shooting is bad, duck shooting is a legal pursuit here in Victoria and people have the right to engage in the practice and do that.

Ms Sandell interjected.

Mr WALSH — Well, it is the law in Victoria. I think both sides of politics agree that duck shooting will be here for a long time into the future. While there might be interjections from some people, the issue of whether there are ducks or whether there are no ducks is just absolute rubbish. Ducks are migratory birds. They move to where the rain is, so when it seems that there are not many ducks in Victoria they are actually in central Australia or in south‑west Queensland, where they go to breed. There will never, ever be a shortage of ducks. I must admit that some people let their emotions get involved in this and do not study the facts on how the duck breeding cycle works and how ducks are migratory birds. These amendments are very sensible, and I look forward to them passing through the house.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr Pearson) — Order! The minister has moved that the amendments be agreed to. I have been advised by the member for Melbourne that she wishes to vote against some but not all of the amendments. I will therefore split the question so as to deal with the amendments opposed by the member for Melbourne separately.

Amendment 1 agreed to.


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