Animal Welfare Victoria

My adjournment this evening is for the Minister for Agriculture, and the action that I am seeking is in relation to the Animal Welfare Victoria organisation that was announced as part of a press release yesterday. The action I am particularly seeking is for the minister to provide a time line that demonstrates when, with whom and how the minister consulted with stakeholders on the formulation of this Animal Welfare Victoria policy.

What appears to have happened here is the minister or the government has undertaken some research in the seat of Northcote, and it seems that animal welfare must have popped up on the radar screen as an issue of concern. So the government has decided that it will undertake some policy on the run and come up with a new group that will look at animal welfare in Victoria. This is notwithstanding we have already got the RSPCA, which does an extensive job in relation to animal welfare for companion animals, and we have also got Agriculture Victoria, which undertakes the same role for production animals.

This sector is over-regulated in terms of the work that goes into ensuring that animal cruelty does not occur. No-one in this chamber and no-one in this state advocates for animal cruelty in any shape or form. At the present time we are pretty well in a good position. We have just had an inquiry undertaken by a committee of this chamber which looked at the practices of the RSPCA. By and large both sides of the house as part of that inquiry came up with the conclusion that the system is working reasonably well, that with a few tinkers here and there it would actually work even better, but at no stage was there any talk about the need for a new organisation.

In terms of this new organisation there is a group called the livestock industry consultative committee, which is chaired by Victoria's chief veterinary officer. This group has got representatives from every sector of the livestock industry in Victoria. This group met on Monday, so that would have been the perfect opportunity for the minister and her office and this government to discuss it, float the idea or have consultation with that group, because they were all in a room at the same time, chaired by the chief veterinary officer. But no, that did not happen. It was not even mentioned.

It appears to me that this is policy on the run because we have a by-election in Northcote, and the Labor Party is scared of the Greens and has decided that it needs to try to out-green the Greens by coming up with a policy that even the Greens would not think was reasonable at this time. I am hoping that the minister can have a look at that, undertake the proper consultation and provide those details so we know exactly who the minister has spoken to and work out exactly what has gone on. Is this policy on the run?

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