Page 2672 - Week 07 - Thursday, 2 August 2018

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Stock Amendment Bill 2018

Debate resumed from 7 June 2018, on motion by Mr Gentleman:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (4.50): The purpose of this bill is to amend the Stock Act 2005. The bill will make two substantive changes: changes to the way stray stock are dealt with; and changes to the permit system for travelling stock by foot. These are simple changes, and we will be supporting this bill today.

The Stock Amendment Bill has two primary goals: firstly, to encourage property owners to ensure that their livestock are contained securely on their properties; and, secondly, as a way to limit the spread of disease, injury to livestock and insemination of stud livestock, and consumption of fodder and damage to crops by stock that has strayed from their original property.

Part 4 of the Stock Act has historically been about requiring anyone transporting stock to have a document from the government or the owner of the stock that proves ownership of the stock and the point of origin of the stock. This was a way of tracking the movement of stock. Since 2005 there have been significant changes to the national livestock identification scheme. This, along with increased technology, has changed how stock movements are managed across Australia. As such this section of the act is no longer necessary and is supposedly now only about ensuring that public safety is looked after when stock are being moved.

As such this bill amends part 4 of the Stock Act to clarify that owners of stock must obtain a permit to travel stock when it involves driving stock on foot in public areas. It does not matter if this movement is for long-distance travel by stock walking from one area to another, roadside grazing for short periods of time or routine movements between two or more properties owned or occupied by the same person. In some ways it seems that this is typical of this government: they do not trust graziers who have been moving stock for such a long time, and who may know better than the public servants sitting in Civic. Graziers are well placed to assess the risks, and undergo training to do so.

I would hope that these new requirements do not require rural landholders to have to seek government permission every time they move their stock for routine matters, and I do not expect that that will be required. The government have assured me that these permits will be granted for periods of around 12 months to address these concerns. I look forward to seeing regulations that outline this. We will monitor this to see whether there are problems with the day-to-day management.

I also had questions about the movement of stock without a permit in cases of emergency. This was of particular concern considering the fact that any breach of this section of the act will be a strict liability offence. I have been advised that under section 41 of the Criminal Code a person is not criminally responsible for an offence if it is carried out in response to an emergency.

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