The Minister for Agriculture Senator Joe Ludwig has failed to commit to the government making good a resolution of last year's ALP National Conference to establish an Independent Office of Animal Welfare, under questioning from Greens Senator and animal welfare spokesperson Lee Rhiannon in Estimates yesterday.
"Minister Ludwig sidestepped the proposal, saying 'we will continue to look at the issue'," Senator Rhiannon said.
"While the ALP National Conference baulked at ending live exports it did at least vote to establish an Independent Office of Animal Welfare. But it looks like it is far from becoming a reality.
"This will no doubt disappoint the millions of Australians who are concerned about animal welfare and were appalled by the expose of the cruelty involved in the live export trade.
Senator Rhiannon asked Minister Ludwig when the office will be established, what powers the office will have, what department it is intended the office will sit in or whether it will have its own department. He failed to answer the question and then took it on notice.
"While animal welfare is the responsibility of Federal, state and territory agriculture departments, experience shows it is often given short shrift.
"Creating an Independent Office would help put animal welfare firmly on the federal government's agenda, at a time when big agribusiness and factory farming rules," Senator Rhiannon said.