Agriculture Minister Ernie Bridge today released for public comment a discussion paper on ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of services under his agriculture portfolio.
The discussion paper summarises the views of industry and community representatives expressed during discussions and workshops in agricultural and pastoral regions.
Mr Bridge said the chief executive officers of the Department of Agriculture, the Agriculture Protection Board and RAFCOR had liaised with a small core of industry people to compile a background paper on issues and options for servicing agriculture.
This had been circulated and discussed at ten workshops around the State, attended by people selected to represent industry organisations, advisory groups, consultants, rural women, and staff of the various agencies.
Their views had then been incorporated into the discussion paper being released today for public comment.
Mr Bridge said the review process had been structured to ensure maximum consultation with the people most affected by services delivered under the agriculture portfolio.
"We are now entering the final phase by calling for public submissions, before deciding on changes to improve performance and efficiency," he said.
The discussion paper indicates strong support for maintaining the independence of the three agencies - the Department, APB and RAFCOR - but suggests increased interaction and co-ordination, including amalgamation of some administrative support services.
Some of the other proposals include:
· reviewing existing legislation and regulations to determine their relevance, effectiveness and efficiency;
· integrating the Western Australian Quarantine Inspection Service with the APB activities to provide a combined international, interstate and intrastate quarantine and inspection capacity;
· developing a framework for rapid response to agricultural emergencies, with responsibility for implementation to rest primarily with the APB;
· further regional delegation of management to encourage regional agreement on priorities and resource allocation; and -
· strengthening industry advisory input to the Department of Agriculture.
Public submissions must be received by July 31. Copies of the discussion paper are available from the office of the Minister for Agriculture, 20th floor, Forrest Centre, 221 St Georges Tce, Perth 6000 - phone (09) 481 2044.