Today I have given formal notice of my intention to introduce a Private Members Bill that will establish an Inspector-General of Animal Welfare and Live Animal Exports.
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.
As Agriculture Minister I appointed an interim Inspector-General of Animal Welfare and Live Animal Exports in September of 2013. Unfortunately, the new Coalition Government did not proceed with the legislation necessary to make the position permanent.
That was a regrettable decision which has proven contrary particularly to the interest of animal welfare in the live sheep export trade.
The Turnbull Government has been consistent in its opposition to the appointment of an Inspector-General. Its difficult to understand why.
Like the Inspector-General of Biosecurity, an Inspector-General of Animal Welfare and Live Animal Exports will deliver the robust regulatory oversight the community is demanding and the Productivity Commission has backed.
The Awassi Express incident and testimony at the recent Senate Estimates both confirm that we need an independent statutory officer auditing the work of the regulator.