PGA tunes into Premier's ag interest

27 Feb, 2015 01:00 AM
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PASTORALISTS and Graziers Association (PGA) president Tony Seabrook has called a meeting with Premier Colin Barnett on Friday "long overdue".

Mr Seabrook said the last meeting the lobby group had with Mr Barnett was two and half years ago.

He said Friday's meeting went well and they walked out feeling positive.

"We discussed a range of issues and the door has been opened for further dialogue with the Premier's office," he said.

Mr Barnett met with Mr Seabrook, PGA vice president Digby Stretch and staff member Ian Randles and discussed issues such as pastoral lease reform, wild dogs, the Fremantle Port, live export, red tape and compliance costs.

Mr Seabrook said the meeting was not about getting breakthroughs, but commencing a dialogue between the PGA, Mr Barnett and his office that could continue.

"We walked away feeling the government was prepared to sit down and talk to us," Mr Seabrook said.

"The tone was constructive and friendly and I think it opened up a future for us to develop a few things that will be good for industry.

"The future lies with more meetings to work over the things we can actually do.

"Mr Barnett said to us; 'Come to me with things I can actually do, and I will do it for you'."

Mr Seabrook said if WA agriculture is truly going to capitalise on the Asian food boom then the government is going to have to help.

"They will have to redirect policies towards securing investment for modern port infrastructure which will increase capacity, including moving live exports out of Fremantle into a dedicated port in the outer harbour," Mr Seabrook said.

"Pastoral lease reform is vital to securing strong vibrant investment in the rangelands, and there needs to be an open discussion about the future of our remote Aboriginal living communities, which will play a key point in the development of the north.

"Red tape, compliance costs and wealth taxes such as stamp duty and payroll tax are strangling primary industry, and these high costs of production are hindering our farmers' and pastoralists' ability to compete at a profitable level internationally."

FarmWeekly

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