- Amendments to the Agricultural Produce Commission Act 1988 to help the agricultural sector adapt and grow
The McGowan Government will this week introduce to Parliament amendments to the Agricultural Produce Commission Act 1988 to support producers' committees.
A review of the Act was carried out in 2006, however its recommendations to improve the operation of the Agricultural Produce Commission and producers' committees were never implemented.
A key proposed amendment will provide the Commission with powers to monitor and audit payment of charges, to ensure producers are complying with the Act and that all funds collected are used to support industry.
Another proposed amendment will enable regulations to provide for circumstances in which charges can be waived, refunded or reduced, if a producer wishes to opt-out of a committee.
Amendments will also allow non-producers to be appointed to committees, in a non-voting capacity to provide broader expertise, and allow the Commission to use weighted voting at a poll for the establishment of a committee, determined according to the proportion of produce from a grower.
While initially the State Government was not proposing extending the Act to broadacre cropping and grazing industries, WAFarmers has asked for this amendment to the Act - and the State has accepted that position from the major representative grower body.
Once prescribed, these industries, along with the vegetable, fruit, beekeeping, pork and other industries, would be able to form producers' committees to provide services to producers.
For a committee to be formed, the proposal must have the support of a majority of producers, through a poll conducted in accordance with the Act. Producers would also have a right to opt out.
There are currently 11 active producers' committees providing services to their industries such as promotion and marketing, research, industry development officers and education.
The committees are established and supported by the Commission, which is responsible for determining, on the recommendation of producers' committees, the charges for services the committees provide.
Comments attributed to Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
"These proposed amendments will allow producers to confidently take ownership of industry direction and realise opportunities for market development, export expansion and diversification for Western Australian primary produce.
"Most of the amendments are based on recommendations from a 2006 review of the Act, which were never implemented by the previous Government.
"WAFarmers requested a further amendment to include broadacre cropping and grazing industries in the Act - which our Government considered and has agreed.
"Allowing broadacre cropping and grazing sectors to be included will give producers, and their industries, the option of establishing a committee to provide services - but it will be up to industry to make the final decision on whether a committee is established."
Minister's office - 6552 6200