State Development Minister Ian Taylor said today that the Western Australian Farmers’ Federation was ill-informed in its latest comments over the Dardanup Saw Mill legislation.
“Not only does the Federation not understand the current Bill before the Parliament, it has so far refused to accept an invitation for a Government briefing which would then enable it to at least make informed comment on the Bill,” Mr Taylor said.
“I have no objection to informed debate, but when accusations are levelled against me from a position of ignorance, it is over the top.”
Mr Taylor said the Federation's claims that it was not usual practice to have resumption clauses in Agreement Acts was wrong as the clauses were in most of the current 52 agreements.
For it to suggest that a Minister could simply change a Bill with the stroke of a pen showed an ignorance of the legislative processes involved.
“The Bill introduced into the Parliament outlines the agreement already negotiated with the company. All the clauses involving land appear in the agreement, not the Bill, and if I wished to change the agreement, the Bill would have to be withdrawn and the agreement renegotiated with the company,” Mr Taylor said.
“The farmers have not lost the right to negotiate and they can still use their land for agricultural purposes. If the company and a land owner wishing to sell cannot reach agreement, the Government ‘may’ intervene but there is no requirement that it must.
“If it does intervene, then the land is only resumed after negotiation with the land owner. The price set is the market value plus ten per cent for discomfort to the land owner.
“A consultative approach by the Federation rather than confrontation would be the best service they could offer to the land owners they are representing - it could start with them accepting the offer of a Government briefing so they could be more informed on the issue.”