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Questions: Live Animal Exports

Question
Mehreen Faruqi 10 Sep 2019

(13:33):

I have a few questions for the minister. Minister, the Moss review called for an Inspector-General of Live Animal Exports—one that would:

… review the performance of functions or exercise of powers by department staff members in the regulation of live animal exports.

This clearly calls for the ability to review the exercise of the functions of the department staff. So I want to understand why the government has subclause 10(2) in the bill, which basically would restrict the inspector-general in doing what the Moss review recommended.

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(13:35):

Would the inspector-general be able to investigate mortality reports that are revised or redrafted to dilute or expunge findings which reflect adversely on the regulatory framework? This is part of what the Moss review highlighted.

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(13:36):

What is the expected cost of the Inspector-General of Live Animal Exports and who would bear that cost? Would it be government or would it be industry?

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(13:37):

What is the transition arrangement between the Interim Inspector-General of Live Animal Exports and the inspector-general which will be established by this bill? Will the same investigations continue?

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(13:39):

I won't be moving Greens amendments (1) and (2) on sheet 8736, because the government has now moved amendments identical to those, but I do move amendment (3) on sheet 8736, because the bill as presented by the government unnecessarily restricts the ability of the Inspector-General. We would like subclause 10(2) to be removed completely because, as I said earlier, the subclause does restrict the inspector-general from investigating individual cases. I think this is quite a ridiculous limitation and one that is wholly unnecessary. We know that there are serious problems with the way exports of live animals are carried out and regulated, and there are serious issues with the lack of oversight. This bill as it stands won't really allow the inspector-general to investigate individual actions. This oversight is absolutely necessary, given that we know what the Moss review said about the department and its limitations, and this amendment will ensure that that's not the case. So I do urge senators to support this. The Greens oppose subclause 10(2) in the following terms:

(3) Subclause 10(2), page 7 (lines 3 to 12), to be opposed.

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