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© 2019 Rosemary Armitage MLC

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Biosecurity Bill 2019 (No 15)

June 20, 2019

[3.34 p.m.]

 

Ms ARMITAGE (Launceston) - Mr President, I too thank the Leader for organising the briefings and the various groups for attending, as well as the department. At the briefings we heard from the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association - TFGA - which advised it had been involved with drafting the bill for some time and assisting Biosecurity Tasmania and DPIPWE. It supports the bill as it stands and would like to see the bill passed as is. The TFGA also added it believed this is a good bill with a lot of positives. Advice from Wine Tasmania is that the bill had gone through many iterations and was a consultative process. It is a big bill with seven acts into one, but it is a good bill and Wine Tasmania supports this bill.

 

We were advised at briefings that every issue they came across was taken on board and things were changed so that they had no issues now and concerns were all dealt with during the process. It is good to hear that because we often get people criticising and complaining that issues are not taken on board. It is good to see that when people had concerns, the department took them on board and dealt with them. The groups that came to see us now have no issues. Some concerns they did have were around the powers of authorised officers, clear direction and notification; they felt there needed to be more detail around reimbursement and fewer guidelines around that. We were told the department took on board concerns.

 

The process showed industry can work with government when drafting legislation to get a streamlined bill. Who knows? Maybe some other departments will take note of the process that we have had with the Biosecurity Bill. Fruit Growers Tasmania put in a submission in 2016 and more recently they advised there was strong support for the bill as it is a critical from the fruitgrowers' perspective. They were happy with the interaction from all the other sectors. This bill is a good outcome. Members of Administration Committee B are well aware of the need for good biosecurity with regard to fruitgrowers, given our lengthy inquiry into blueberry rust. We were told at the briefing that Fruit Growers Tasmania represents the majority of growers.

 

We were further told there was faith that this bill will make it a more rigorous and better industry. Lloyd Klumpp has worked closely with some growers and there were valuable lessons learnt with the blueberry rust issue. As for beekeepers, it appears Lindsay Bourke was involved in discussions. The beekeepers' biggest issue was around registration. This was addressed. A question was raised at briefings about the inspection of produce and the balance between independent and self-inspection. Lloyd Klumpp advised, and I think I have this right, that with self-inspection there is a rigorous training process leading to accreditation and then there is an auditing process.

 

Provision is already in the bill, in part 10, for accreditation. It should also be noted that inspecting your own produce is only for export purposes and not for import purposes. The Leader just might confirm I have that right. I am pleased to see in part 9 of the bill provision to enable industry groups to put together a program relating to the prevention, elimination, minimisation, control or management of a biosecurity risk or biosecurity impact, and that this is a collaborative and cooperative process. I also note the distinction between reimbursement and compensation and that in division 2 there is no provision for reimbursement in this section.

 

However, we were advised there is nothing in this bill that precludes the government from providing extra compensation outside division 2 for consequential losses. I would be pleased if the Leader could confirm this as well. My understanding is that reimbursement only relates to direct property losses. Other states are the same. There is a capacity for government to provide support for individuals or industry depending upon the actual incident and that clause 218(2) of the bill limits it to the direct impact under this provision, but does not prevent the Government from providing anything for consequential losses. Perhaps the Leader could confirm I have it as it should be. I would hate to mislead parliament with those comments.

 

It appears there is strong support for this legislation, and I support the bill.

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