"IF I am given the opportunity to have the agriculture portfolio again I will grab it with both hands."
That was the view of Alannah MacTiernan earlier this week when she reflected on the 2021 State Election that saw the WA Labor party claim an overwhelming win on the weekend, setting up party dominance in both the Lower House and Upper House in the WA Parliament.
Having served as the Agriculture and Food Minister prior to the election, she is keen to retain that portfolio for another four years.
"I have found the agricultural portfolio to be the most intellectually engaging and if I was asked to do it I would be very happy," Ms MacTiernan said.
"I would certainly appreciate that opportunity, but at the end of the day it's the Premier's decision."
Ms MacTiernan was in Carnarvon when the election results were first announced and said the early Saturday night results had made her optimistic that Labor's candidate for the North West Central seat, Cherie Sibosado. would win before she was narrowly defeated by The Nationals WA member Vince Catania who ended up with 52.09 per cent of the vote.
However Ms MacTiernan still celebrated the general win for the ALP, which she attributed to the State government's effective management of the COVID-19 crisis and a lack of credible opposition from the WA Liberal Party.
"I think people saw and were deeply concerned that there was a very inexperienced and not terribly sophisticated opposition and made the assessment generally that they didn't cut the mustard and could not be trusted to form government," Ms MacTiernan said.
"WA was also appreciative of how the State government had handled COVID-19 and kept Western Australians safe."
If she were to retain the Agriculture and Food portfolio, Ms MacTiernan said her key priorities would be following through with the ALP's election commitments of a $15 million Agricultural Climate Resilience Fund, a $15m Carbon Farming Fund and making a significant investment into the State's oats industry with the aim to bring oat breeding back into WA.
"We will need to work out how to best spend the $15m for our Agricultural Climate Resilience fund and we will do that through a lot of discussion with the State's grower groups and along with our Carbon Farming Fund, those two initiatives are going to be enormously important for us to get a real lead in our industry," Ms MacTiernan said.
"We're also hopeful of stitching up some really good deals in the coming weeks to get oat breeding back into WA on a very serious basis."
Looking forward, Ms MacTiernan said that climate change, biosecurity, and animal welfare legislation were challenges for the industry that needed to be addressed.
"I think everyone other than the National Party federally has recognised that climate change is a huge issue," Ms MacTiernan said.
"Biosecurity is another challenging area, as the volume of pest incursions are increasing every year, so that is a big concern.
"There is some unhappiness about the regional biosecurity groups, so hopefully we will get a bit more maturity into the debate around those.
"As we committed, we will be looking at moving on the animal welfare legislation and building on the report that has been done and making that report available to the community.
"I don't think this is something that farmers should be concerned about - we need our farmers to be seen by the community to be very mindful of animal welfare, as I know they are."
Premier Mark McGowan is set to announce his ministerial portfolios this Thursday with the successful cabinet members to be officially sworn in on Friday.