GENERAL SECTION

The General Section represent the coming together of all Commodity Councils and Zones to form the WAFarmers’ policy engine room; a group that drives issues forward within the community, industry and government.

It is a forum where a range of issues impacting every facet of primary production can be raised and discussed. The inclusion of a number of dedicated committees covers important issues ranging from transport, biosecurity and water.

On a daily basis, the General Section represents farmers on a wide range of industry issues including transport, telecommunications, education and training, environment and water resources, occupational health and safety, economics and farm business and trade.
On a daily basis, the General Section represents farmers on a wide range of industry issues including:
  • Agricultural protection;
  • Biotechnology;
  • Competition;
  • Education and training;
  • Land clearing and management;
  • Occupational health and safety;
  • Special issues;
  • Trade;
  • Transport; and,
  • Water resources.

One of the most bureaucratically-layered portfolios that WAFarmers works in is transport, mainly because of the many government departments and agencies that contribute towards, and interact with, transport and infrastructure policy. Agencies such as Main Roads, Department of Transport, WA Police, Western Power, the Department of Local Government and the National Transport Commission all interact and at times, leave us working in a complex environment to solve transport-related issues.

One of the challenges working with the transport sector is that it is the ‘arteries and veins’ of the State’s economy, and thus has a large, powerful and diverse stakeholder base, which is often conflicting with the needs of the agricultural transport sector. Another challenge is that change in the transport sector is very expensive, whether it be changes to vehicle design, roads or bridges. WAFarmers thrives on the challenge and is encouraged by the changes that have been made through injecting some practical, common-sense approaches into the complex working legislative environment known as transport.

Current and ongoing issues:

  • The ‘Grain-on-rail’ debate over many years, dating back to the mid-80’s has seen WAFarmers influence policy and costs, from negotiating substantial decreases in rail freight rates when grain rates were centrally set, through to keeping grain on rail in the Tier 3 network for the foreseeable future.
Recent issues:
  • Introduction of the Compliance and Enforcement (Chain of Responsibility) legislation, following amendments to the Road Traffic (Administration) Act 2008 and the Road Traffic (Vehicles) Act 2012.
  • Founding member of the Agricultural Vehicle Advisory Group, which continues to reduce red tape in the agricultural machinery space.
  • Commentary regarding issues such as farm haulage concessions, licensing new farm machinery, speed limits for tractors, permits and policing of transport, accreditation for farm trucks, transporting chemicals and carrying dangerous goods.