Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens’ Leader and Animal Welfare spokesperson
A firm, unequivocal commitment in Parliament to introduce a second tranche of improvements to the Animal Welfare Act 1993 has been abandoned by new Primary Industries Minister Sarah Courtney.
In its 2013 report on reform of the Act, the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee made 60 recommendations to improve the lives of wild, domestic and livestock animals in Tasmania.
Only 12 recommendations were incorporated into the amendments that passed through the House in 2015, with the then Minister for Primary Industries, Jeremy Rockliff, making a clear commitment that a second tranche of amendments would be introduced.
The previous Minister knew the first tranche of amendments focused on penalties and failed to address the bulk of AWAC’s advice.
This promised further strengthening of the Act never happened in the last term of the Parliament, leaving the legislation still deficient to ensure better animal welfare outcomes.
In Budget Estimates last week and in Parliament today, Minister Courtney crab walked away from Mr Rockliff’s commitment and would only say she would seek advice on ‘whether’ more changes are needed.
The Animal Welfare Advisory Committee answered that question in 2013. Regrettably, since then AWAC has been hobbled by the Liberals in government, with former member, Malcolm Caulfield, recently resigning in disgust over a lack of commitment to animal welfare in Tasmania.
It is clear from her responses to the Greens’ questions, this Minister puts the welfare of industry over that of animals.