January 31, 2018

Minister needs to consult more widely on egg proposals

The WA Opposition is calling on the Government to ensure it consults widely with industry and consumers, and undertakes rigorous modelling, before considering any changes to laws or regulations relating to egg production.

Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Food Ian Blayney said once again the McGowan Government had arrogantly failed to consult before making decisions.

“I am extremely concerned the Minister is adopting a position on this issue before hearing all sides and getting an understanding of the investments made over recent years by the industry to improve the conditions in which chickens are caged and produce eggs,” Mr Blayney said.

“I have been in discussions with industry and I am aware more than $50 million has been invested improving the welfare of caged chickens.

“Any changes along the lines proposed by the Minister will have detrimental impacts on the industry, will result in job losses and will push up the cost of eggs which are an affordable protein that could be priced out of the reach of low-income families.

“Ultimately, it is the consumers who determine the success of these industries by their purchase decisions, and it is quite obvious there is strong demand for cage eggs. Caged eggs are an affordable protein for many families.

“We do not need unnecessary changes to standards which push prices out of the reach of households when industry have been making improvements knowing that the outcome of their changes are healthier chickens and better produce.

“The Minister’s track record to date in regards to consultation has not been the best and I am calling her to consulted more widely and with the sector she represents rather than undertaking selective consultation.

“She also needs to ensure modelling is undertaken of any proposed changes – what will be the impact on producers, what will be the impact on jobs, what will be the impact on prices if she gets her way and imposes her proposals on industry?”

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