The staff freeze currently gripping the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia (DAFWA) has been condemned by WAFarmers President Tony York.
Speaking from Canberra, Mr York said WAFarmers fully supported Agricultural Minister Ken Baston in his efforts to have a public sector-wide job freeze lifted to allow the department to fill critically important biosecurity positions.
“Western Australia is a national leader in biosecurity, with our state being considered relatively disease-free,” Mr York said.
“Should this position be compromised because of DAFWA is under-staffed, the Treasurer will have a lot to answer for.
“The Minister’s request for an exemption is fully warranted and should be taken very seriously, as current staffing levels at DAFWA have left the Department ill-equipped to deal with any potential outbreak of disease affecting livestock.
“While any outbreak would be of concern, it would be especially so if it were to happen while we were short staffed in these key positions because the Treasurer was unwilling to consider this as an urgent priority, so we implore Mr Nahan to make an exemption to the job freeze.”
Mr York explained that the job freeze could not only present biosecurity issues, but could also affect trade and research in other commodity areas.
All media requests must be directed to WAFarmers Media and Communications Officer Melanie Dunn on (08) 9486 2100 or [email protected].