The State Government today announced massive public sector reform, with 40 per cent of existing government departments to be amalgamated.
Under the reform, the new Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development will incorporate the Departments of Agriculture and Food WA, Regional Development and Fisheries, and Regional Development Commissions.
WAFarmers President Tony York said the reform was a more streamlined approach, despite the seemingly increased size and responsibility of departments.
“During their election campaign, WA Labor did acknowledge their intentions to perform a public sector renewal, though we did not anticipate that it would be this comprehensive,” Mr York said.
“That said, the development of the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development through the amalgamation of agencies including the current Department of Agriculture and Food WA makes sense.
“Minister MacTiernan is not only in charge of the Agriculture and Food portfolio but is also Minister for Regional Development, so by combining her expertise with that of Minister David Kelly as Minister for Fisheries, the sector is in good hands moving forward.
“We hope that the amalgamation of these agencies will have many benefits, not only for agriculture, but for regional communities as a whole as a stronger regional presence is developed.”
Mr York said while the streamlining of agencies into a more comprehensive system should ensure an efficient exchange of information and resources between related portfolios, commitments to biosecurity, quarantine and agricultural protection must not be lost in the new ministry.
“Agriculture is an important sector of the state’s economy and deserves the government’s highest interest, so the new Department must ensure that the opportunities in agriculture remain a priority,” he said.
“Currently DAFWA is charged with providing services to industry in an effort to support and drive the agrifood sector, so we both hope and anticipate that by expanding upon the industries represented in agribusiness and regional development by combining primary industries, there will be greater returns in the long run which will keep agriculture as a priority.”
All media requests must be directed to WAFarmers Media and Communications Officer Melanie Dunn on (08) 9486 2100 or [email protected].