February 5, 2018
MLC attacks Committee inquiry as a waste of time
Agricultural Region MLC Jim Chown says an Upper House Committee established to investigate ways to compensate for economic losses caused by “contamination” from GM crop material is a waste of time and money.
“It is not necessary for the Parliament to establish a committee to create a compensation scheme when a court judgement has already set a precedent that compensation would not be required,” Mr Chown said.
“It is not a good use of the Parliament’s time and resources to establish a committee just because a few members of the Upper House are pouting about a legal process that reached a conclusion those members did not agree with.
“It is deeply concerning that the Minister for Regional Development wrote to the Chair of the Committee claiming the court found against the GM farmer, when in fact the court found in favour of the farmer.
“The Minister has dismissed her misstatement of the court result as an error, but has continued to use it to justify the inquiry to review the adequacy of existing laws. This amounts to the Minister saying she is not happy with the court judgement and potentially pre-empts the Committee’s finding.
“I think the Committee work is completely unnecessary given we have sufficient legal processes to address this issue. The Court has heard the matter and the Court has found there was no requirement for compensation.
“The basis for the inquiry has not been justified and I am concerned it will be one-sided and that opponents of GM crops will be seeking to inundate the inquiry with submissions and the committee will not seek broader views, particularly from agricultural scientists and other experts who have professional knowledge on the matter.
Mr Chown said the inquiry was sending the wrong message to farmers who wanted to invest in broad acre cropping in WA.
“Inquiries of this nature will inhibit investment in and development of broad acre cropping because of a fear of future regulatory changes that could add substantial costs to operations,” Mr Chown said.
“I sincerely believe the time of the Parliament and the Standing Committee on Environment and Public Affairs could be put to better use.”