Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 2 August 2018) . . Page.. 2673 ..
Moving on to the changes as to how stray stock are dealt with, currently, under the act, the director-general and the occupier of the land have the right to impound trespassing stock. If any stock are seized the director-general must give notice to the owner, or give notice publicly if the owner is unknown. Section 39 of the act provides that the stock must be put up for sale at auction if the stock is not released within 14 days of notice of the impounding being given.
The bill makes changes to the way that government can handle the sale or removal of stock. In doing so it provides the director-general with considerable scope to exercise their discretion when coming to a solution. The bill allows the government to dispose of the animal in a number of ways, such as selling them at auction, selling them by some other means, giving the stock away or disposing of the stock, including killing the stock.
I must admit it surprises me that this Labor-Greens government is constantly coming up with new ways to legislate for the ability to kill animals. However, under the new legislation, the government will not be able to kill any stock unless it is too costly to sell them, or for animal welfare reasons, although this power already existed under section 86 of the Animal Welfare Act 1992.
In our discussions with the minister’s office on this amendment, I asked the question about how often stock are impounded and sold at auction, and I was informed of two instances. In 2004 there was a calf that was impounded. No-one in the directorate recalls what the outcome of that event was. Apparently, in 2005 there was also a horse that was impounded and sold for the cost of the advertisement in the newspaper. Again the collective memory of the directorate could not recall the specific details. Of course, given that the legislation at that time said it was meant to be sold at auction under those current arrangements, I am not sure how it was sold for the cost of the ad, unless the ad was perhaps very expensive. So it appears that two instances can be recalled in the past 15 or so years. This is apparently a routine review of the legislation to tidy it up, but it does give the government further powers and decreases the individual freedoms of graziers.
It might be nice if, instead of bringing in more legislation—which, incidentally provides greater ability to kill animals—that increases the burden on graziers when it comes to transportation options for stock between paddocks, the time was better spent on finding ways to make lives easier for Canberrans, including graziers, and finding ways to support our farmers, who, by all accounts, are doing it pretty tough at the moment.
We will continue to monitor the situation about graziers’ permits to move cattle, to ensure that this government is being fair about the application process, and ensuring that it is not an unnecessary burden on the individual grazier. We will be supporting the legislation today. Finally, I would like to thank the minister and his office for their consultation with my office on the bill.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (4.56): I would like to make a few short remarks about the Stock Amendment Bill. I remember from my days as minister responsible