Lobby groups want detail

31 Jan, 2013 01:00 AM

WAFARMERS president Dale Park said the election commitments the Nationals have put forward were fine, but the truth would be known in the finer detail.

"If the money is spent wisely it will be well worth it because it is certainly looking at the future," Mr Park said.

"The $2 million for the state-wide infrastructure audit, will be crucial in making sure the money is spent where it is most needed.

"And we have to make sure that it is open and transparent and we keep an eye on it."

Mr Park was far more positive on some of the commitments by the Nationals but emphasised the lack of detail of the announcement.

"Things like $20m for research and development grants for grower groups, $7m to develop Brand WA to sell WA to the world and $20m to increase the profile of WA agriculture, will all be positive investments for agriculture," he said.

"It is nice to see that we are not having cutbacks, so no matter how you paint it, on a series of budgets both the Liberals and the Nationals have tried to tell us that we are either getting the same amount of money or only a little bit less.

"It is actually good to see somebody looking to put a bit more money in agriculture because agriculture has been a bit of a whipping boy following the last couple of budgets.

"This is the step in the right direction."

Mr Park admitted the reality was, that despite agriculture still being the second largest industry in the state, there were fewer votes in the country.

"Everybody thinks we are less and less important and the prospect of Western Australians going hungry in the next few years is not very great, so don't expect to be looked after too well," he said.

Mr Park said the development of Asia was the only positive on the horizon that gave the industry any hope at the moment.

Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA) president Rob Gillam said the party had tried to cater for all rural areas, but there were also a few important aspects missing.

"We would have liked to have seen some dedicated money for the stock squad," Mr Gillam said.

"The Livestock Compliance Unit (LCU) is just not working as far as stock theft is concerned.

"The LCU is about identification and not about stopping theft and quite frankly until we have a dedicated police unit for that, I think we will continue to have this problem which we have currently got."

Mr Gillam also said he would like to have seen state support for pastoralists for respondents to native title claims.

The federal government has withdrawn funding for respondents of native title claims which came into affect as of January 1.

Mr Gillam also said he was pleased with the announcement of the $15m investment to the Kimberley to establish a Northern Beef Industry Development Centre but was yet to hear the details about the project.



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