Lib backbenchers slam department's direction

04 Jul, 2015 02:00 AM
Liberal Party backbenchers Brian Ellis (pictured) and Nigel Hallett slam the direction of the Department of Agriculture and Food WA.
Liberal Party backbenchers Brian Ellis (pictured) and Nigel Hallett slam the direction of the Department of Agriculture and Food WA.

LIBERAL Party backbenchers Nigel Hallett and Brian Ellis slammed the direction of the Department of Agriculture and Food during last Friday's standing committee on estimates hearing.

Mr Ellis said he had heard a lot of concerns from farmers and industry; on what the department is doing.

"I have been in the industry for some time, and I have some major concerns about where the department is heading," Mr Ellis said.

"I know things have changed; things have moved on and there is some good research being done by grower groups, but if the department is not going to do it, it needs to be up front and say it.

"There is a lack of confidence out there.

"Our questions (on Friday) were directed toward the director general, he's at the top and he is setting the course for the department – he is the obvious person to ask the questions of, where is the department going and what is its role?

"I suppose we are passionate because we are generally concerned for the department. I can accept we can change direction and downsize if necessary, but let's have some plan, it seems to be drifting along destroying itself."

Mr Ellis said following responses to questions at estimates, the department's vision was still unclear to him.

"I think we might be in a crisis of confidence," he said.

"We do need direction, and what are the roles?

"We need to get that sorted as soon as possible."

Mr Hallett said it was evident that there was no solid plans for the department's future.

"They have rolled over to budget cuts," Mr Hallett said.

"Do they go under the Federal arm or just hang up the 'closed' sign?

"Industry should be quite alarmed about what came out of estimates.

"We could be doing so much with a proactive department."

Mr Hallett was highly critical of the department during the estimates hearing.

He said the department had no direction and that staff had lost morale.

"We have not heard a whimper on changing this," he said.

"Agriculture is meant to be the next boom industry, and here you are slashing and burning."

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4/07/2015 2:00:23 PM, on Farm Weekly

So is Hallett suggesting that the Department is slashing jobs by choice, and not as a result of the massive cuts in funding that his government have given them? Laughable
5/07/2015 5:41:48 PM, on Farm Weekly

Hallett and Ellis need to ask their master Barnett where all the money has gone from the Boom. Gov hype re WA becoming the food bowl of Asia is a joke !!


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