Ms O'CONNOR question to MINISTER for PRIMARY INDUSTRIES and WATER, Mr BARNETT
We have asked two questions today in an effort to ascertain whether anything has improved in animal welfare or environmental standards at Van Dairy farms. Van Dairy donated $25 000 to the Liberals in 2018. That is a donation we know of. Did that buy them a free pass?
You fought for that question?
Mr SPEAKER - Order. The question has been asked. We will allow the minister to answer it.
Mr BARNETT - Thank you, Mr Speaker. I thank the member for her question. The last part of her question, obviously I reject it - it is totally inappropriate and gutter politics.
As I said earlier in my answer and confirmed again by the Minister for Environment, we take this matter very seriously and it is a matter for the regulators, the Tasmanian Dairy Industry Authority and the EPA. The efforts of this Government and those regulators are very strong indeed. Regarding this matter, let us outline the importance of it and how we want to support the high standards across our dairy industry, including at Van Dairy. You have asked me of my involvement and the involvement of this Government, so I will summarise.
I have requested, and been regularly briefed by the chair of the TDIA since the Government was formed. I have been briefed by the director of the EPA. I have been briefed by the secretary of my department on coordination of compliance activities across the agency on a regular basis. I have raised the matter with the TFGA and Dairy Tasmania. I have written to minister David Littleproud, my federal counterpart, and Josh Frydenberg to reinforce the importance of compliance with any Foreign Investment Review Board conditions, in particular those conditions that support capital investment in a contemporary management of Van Dairy Farms. I recently met with the Van Dairy manager and urged Van Dairy to comply with the standards of the regulator.
I have also written to the secretary of my department to ensure that TDIA is provided any support required to undertake these very important compliance activities. This is a very important matter. The matters are ongoing and it will be considered on an ongoing basis and in a very serious way.