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Opposition Minister says cuts to DAFWA is putting biosecurity at risk.

 

The Member for Collie-Preston is highlighting the issues DAFWA staff are facing, telling Farm Weekly he hopes new minister Dean Nalder will stand up in cabinet to defend the the State's agriculture department:

"Premier Colin Barnett and Treasurer Mike Nahan plan for Department of Agriculture and Food staff levels to fall to about half of where they were when the Liberal-National Government took office."

Mr Murray made the call while on a tour of farming communities near Wongan Hills, where he met with local farmers to discuss matters affecting WA's agrifood sector.

He said large-scale DAFWA redundancies had caused dismay in the industry, and many farmers had raised serious concerns about the huge loss of biosecurity staff and research and development experts.

Mr Murray said he hoped Mr Nalder would confront Mr Barnett over his refusal to address an urgent biosecurity staff shortage.

He said he would press for an exception to be made to the public sector staffing freeze for the sake of the industry.

"It is such an obvious contradiction for the government to have a stated goal of doubling the value of our agrifood sector at the same time that they are halving departmental staff - it just doesn't add up," he said.

"I call on the Mr Nalder to sit down with Mr Barnett and Mr Nahan to impress upon them the importance of restoring the millions of dollars in biosecurity and research funding they have torn away.

"There is no question the Premier and Treasurer are trying to deal with a self-inflicted budget crisis, but you cannot fix a revenue problem by undermining one of the State's most important sources of revenue.

Mr Murray urged Mr Nalder to act where his predecessor Ken Baston couldn't, as urgent biosecurity funding was needed to avoid potentially catastrophic disease outbreaks.

This article has been edited to fit within CPSU/CSA guidelines, for the full article from Farm Weekly – click here

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