Page 2676 - Week 07 - Thursday, 2 August 2018
Since the Stock Act was made there have been changes that affect the movement of livestock in the ACT. Much of the land that was previously rural has been repurposed for urban development, with a corresponding decrease in the number of farms and livestock. This, and better modes of vehicle transport, has resulted in droving stock decreasing significantly.
Also, the national livestock identification system, Australia’s system for identification and traceability of stock, has expanded, and provides a better way of tracing stock movements. This national system is being implemented under amendments to the Animal Diseases Act 2005. This means that part 4 of the Stock Act is now mostly about ensuring the public’s safety when stock is being moved on foot in areas accessible to the public. The government needs to be able to review the proposed movement and assess any risk to the public of the proposed movement.
The bill amends part 4 of the Stock Act to clarify that owners of stock must obtain a permit to travel stock from the director-general when it involves driving the stock on foot in public areas such as along roads, unless they have a permit issued under a corresponding law in another jurisdiction. This could be long-distance travel by stock walking from one area to another, roadside grazing for a short period of time or routine movements between two or more properties owned or occupied by the same person.
The Stock Act is also being amended by the bill to remove the right of an owner of stock to issue a permit to travel the stock. This requirement was needed historically so that people droving stock along a road could prove the stock had not been stolen. This is no longer necessary because the national livestock identification system includes mechanisms for the identification of stock and it is not appropriate for an owner to issue a permit when the risks associated with the movement of the stock need to be assessed by the government for public safety reasons.
In finishing, I want to point out that the bill contains two strict liability offences. These offences are already in the Stock Act and are only amended by the bill for technical reasons to remove the reference to an owner issuing a permit. There has been no change to the maximum penalty of 50 penalty units.
In summary, the Stock Amendment Bill gives greater flexibility to government to deal with impounded stock that has not been claimed by the owner. Being able to sell small numbers of animals without going to auction will reduce the cost to government and benefit stock owners claiming the balance of proceeds. Restricting the issue of permits to the director-general for travelling stock that are unrestrained and on foot improves public safety.
The bill is another example of the government’s keeping a close eye on the territory’s legislation and making sure it is as up to date as possible. It also works effectively to reduce red tape, allows the government to meet its obligations in a cost-effective way and continues to have public safety and animal welfare as a priority. I commend the bill to the Assembly.