DESPITE welcoming the State government's $25 million commitment to a new agriculture project, the opposition wants clarity on its exact objectives.
Agricultural Region MLC Colin de Grussa, The Nationals WA, said there was still a lack of detail around the Western Australian Agricultural Collaboration (WAAC) project.
"We welcome partnerships that can enhance WA's agriculture industry, however, there are concerns around the limited detail provided on what the WAAC aims to achieve and how it will collaborate with the agriculture industry," Mr de Grussa said.
"It appears the project's focus is around climate and emissions, but there has been no specific detail released as of yet so it remains to be seen what the objectives are."
According to the opposition, there was little else for the agricultural sector in the State Budget aside from the WAAC and the continuation of the "failed" program for international working holidaymakers.
Mr de Grussa said it was "bizarre" the McGowan government had looked to fund the Paid Escape program to the tune of $7.5m until 2024, when it had been a "dismal failure".
"It would be far more effective if they focused on collaborating with the Federal government to fast-track the skilled workers required from overseas," he said.
While he did welcome the continuation of funding for biosecurity, Mr de Grussa said the commitment was on the back of over four years of neglect, which saw many experienced and qualified officers leave the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, either through disillusionment or being restructured out of a job.
"The machinery of government changes gutted the department and forced a difficult merger of agriculture, fisheries and regional development," he said.
"There is still a long way to go to rebuild the lost capacity from the department and ensure our State's biosecurity systems are sufficient to protect our vital food and fibre industry.
"The lack of veterinary capacity within DPIRD was highlighted most recently in the Narrogin-Wickepin and Corrigin bushfires, just imagine what might be the case if a major outbreak of animal disease occurs"
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