Debate resumed in the House of Representatives today on my Private Member’s Bill to restore the Inspector General of Animal Welfare and Live Animal Exports.
Three Government Members spoke to the Bill for five minutes each. Not one of them mentioned the position of the Inspector General. Barnaby Joyce, Rowan Ramsey and Michelle Landry spent their five minutes providing unqualified support for the live sheep trade.
This lack of engagement with the issue at hand reflects the Coalition’s unwillingness and inability to conduct an intelligent and considered debate on critical matters in agriculture. It sells our farmers and agricultural stakeholders short.
Labor established the Inspector General but Barnaby Joyce abolished the position on winning office.
An independent statutory officer, the Inspector-General of Animal Welfare and Live Animal Exports will have oversight of the Commonwealth regulator in animal welfare matters.
Even the current Minister David Littleproud is willing to consider the merits of the position of the Inspector-General of Animal Welfare and Live Animals Exports and has included the position in the Moss Review. Sadly the Moss review was due on 24 August and we are still awaiting the findings.
It’s shocking events of animal cruelty, like what we saw in the Awassi Express live sheep export incident, that confirms the need for an independent statutory officer auditing the work of the regulator.
Liberal and National Party MPs must know that the restoration of an independent statutory officer is an important step in building community confidence in the regulatory system and protecting animal welfare.