18th April 2016

    Last June I had a meeting with Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair regarding the gassing of pigs at Rivalea slaughterhouse. In this meeting I presented footage of the gas stunning process captured as the pigs were lowered into the chamber. In addition, I asked for the Minister to visit in person with myself and other concerned colleagues, the Rivalea facility and witness first hand the gassing process.

    Unsurprisingly the Minister declined the offer of a slaughterhouse visit. I then wrote a formal letter to the Rivalea management so as I and a member of my staff could visit the slaughterhouse, this was rejected without reason. So as you know, we, attempted to visit ourselves, we were not received with a warm welcome.

    It has to be asked if everything is OK then why all the secrecy? Why the denials and refusal of inspection?

    Well according to Minister Blair all is OK, in a response letter sent to my office he confirmed he had viewed the footage and that everything is fine at Rivalea. The issue filmed was merely the actions of individual workers as opposed to systemic cruelty. The RSPCA had inspected the facility and found it to be compliant. All is good, nothing to see.

    I do NOT accept this and will continue to push for answers.

  • Australia's gentle icon with nowhere safe to hide


    23rd March 2016

    Questions without notice.


    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: My question is directed to the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, representing the Hon. Troy Grant, Deputy Premier, and Minister for Justice and Police. Given the alarming media reports of confrontations between landholders and illegal hunters and the identification of illegal hunting trespass as being of concern to 58 per cent of farmers by Dr Elaine Barclay, Associate Professor in Criminology at the University of New England, will the Minister confirm that the Stock Theft and Trespass Review will investigate the rising incidence of illegal hunting trespass on rural lands? If so, is there a term of reference that specifically addresses the issue of illegal hunting trespass, and how is the review being promoted to the wider community?

    The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: I thank the honourable member for his question. It was probably a question better put to my colleague the Minister for Primary Industries, because the Department of Primary Industries Game Licensing Unit is hard at work targeting illegal hunters across the State. There is not an illegal hunter in the State that Niall’s army is not chasing at this moment. It is interesting to note that in this Parliament recently the Shooters and Fishers Party—soon to be the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, but they will not look after the farmers as well as The Nationals—indicated that they find illegal shooting on private property, namely farms, totally abhorrent. I do not think anyone in this place would disagree with that.

    People in the gallery and members of the House have farms. One of the worst things you can find when working in rural industries is people operating illegally on your property. Even worse is to have people shooting illegally on your property—especially if they are shooting with rifles. Shotguns have a short trajectory but bullets from rifles can carry a couple of kilometres or more. Some years ago on my home farm a bullet lodged in the fibro on the edge of the shearers’ quarters. We had no idea where the bullet came from but it was a scary thing to happen.

    I am told that a robust regulatory system that allows legal, licensed hunters to access declared public lands acts as a deterrent to those who operate illegally and who are determined to flout the law. In fact, legal, licensed hunters are a regular and reliable source of information on illegal hunters. They hate them as much as we do, and they contribute to compliance and enforcement within their peer networks. The community also has an important role to play in detecting and deterring illegal hunting. It is now an easy matter for members of the public to report illegal hunting incidents.

    The game licensing unit has partnered with the NSW Police Force to shut the gate on illegal hunting as part of the larger shut the gate on rural crime campaign, as asked about in the member’s question. A dedicated illegal hunting report line 1800 SHUT IT is now available to report illegal hunting directly to game licensing compliance officers. Illegal hunting report forms, business cards and magnets have also been processed to assist members of the public to report illegal hunting activity and ensure the right information is collected. Investigations rely on the timely and accurate reporting of illegal hunting. Details that assist in investigations include the date, time and place; details about the alleged offender; vehicle type and registration; and the type of alleged illegal activity.

    Mr David Shoebridge: And a willingness to prosecute.

    The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: I hear what the member is saying. It is a timely reminder of some of his comments on drug-related crimes. The New South Wales Government is committed to detecting and deterring illegal hunting in this State. The community now has more information. What I have not answered in his question I will certainly take on notice and refer to the police Minister for a comprehensive response.

    4th May 2016


    In reply tothe Hon. MARK PEARSON (23 March 2016).

    The Hon. DUNCAN GAY (Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, and Vice-President of the Executive Council)—The Deputy Premier, and Minister for Justice and Police, provided the following response:

    I am advised:

    The first of four terms of reference for the stock theft review is: Are the current offences and penalties relating to stock theft and trespass adequate to address the impact of these acts on primary producers and rural businesses? If not, what amendments could be made to address this?

    Where someone is hunting illegally, this will often involve trespass and other offences, such as malicious damage. The review is looking at these issues from this perspective.

    In relation to publicising the review to the wider community, the review has already attracted newspaper, television and radio coverage following the distribution of my media release. The review is also connecting with stakeholders through a dedicated Facebook page and has a number of face-to-face consultations organised across New South Wales.


    15th March 2016

    Questions without notice.


    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industries, and Minister for Lands and Water, representing the Minister for Education. Will the Minister advise whether the New South Wales education curriculum has provision for teaching school students about the fundamental core beliefs and principles of all the major religions, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Daoism and Buddhism, irrespective of whether a school is aligned with a particular religion, and if not, why not?

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR: I thank the Hon. Mark Pearson for his question. I was looking to see whether I had information at hand to be able to answer that question. In light of the detail for which the member has asked in his question and as he asked me to take it on behalf of the Minister for Education, I am happy to refer the question to the Minister for Education for an answer.

    4th May 2016


    In reply tothe Hon. MARK PEARSON (15 March 2016).

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR (Minister for Primary Industries, and Minister for Lands and Water)—The Minister for Education provided the following response:

    All students in NSW are required to learn about religion. In particular, the Human Society and its Environment learning area K 12 includes syllabus outcomes and content relating to intercultural understanding, ethical understanding, personal and social capability, and civics and citizenship. This approach to learning about religion is consistent with that taken by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA] in the development of the Australian Curriculum.

    Students are able to further their study of religion through the Stage 6 Studies of Religion course, which attracts a large candidature. This course provides an opportunity for students to deepen their understanding of major religious traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism), their commonalities and differences, at an age appropriate level.


    9th March 2016

    Questions without notice.


    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: My question is directed to the Minister for Ageing, representing the Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage, and Assistant Minister for Planning. Will the Minister confirm that the Government will maintain the current ban on the aerial killing of brumbies in the Snowy Mountains National Park and that this plan will be reflected in the horse management plan? If so, will the plan include more support and funding for passive trapping and rehoming programs, to which the member for Monaro, the Hon. John Barilaro, referred in the other House in June last year:

    If numbers of wild horses are a problem in the Kosciuszko National Park, there are kinder ways to control the wild horse population, such as programs to break in brumbies and offer them for sale.

    The Hon. JOHN AJAKA: I thank the honourable member for his question. I am advised that damage caused by an over-abundant wild horse population is a significant threat to the environmental values of Kosciuszko National Park and poses a threat to road safety and grazing properties in the region, such as through livestock competition and infrastructure damage. The Kosciuszko National Park Wild Horse Management Plan 2008 aims to find a balance between reducing the threats of wild horses and accounting for the views of people who value the presence of wild horses for other reasons, such as tourism benefits and the historical context of brumbies in the region. I am advised also that the wild horse management plan is currently undergoing review and this will involve extensive consultation with key stakeholders and the general community. In December 2014 the New South Wales Liberal-Nationals Government ruled out aerial culling and brumby running or roping as wild horse control methods in the revised plan.


    22nd March 2016


    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industries. The sea animals theme continues. The website of the Department of Primary Industries and the code of conduct of the Master Fish Merchants Association state that the boiling of live hard shell crustaceans is an unacceptable method of killing. It has been brought to my attention that hard shell crustaceans are being boiled alive in seafood markets or other outlets which sell directly to the public as opposed to restaurants, which sell seafood for consumption. If this is so, why is this practice being allowed? Will the Minister advise members whether there has been any breach regarding the unacceptable methods of killing crustaceans at New South Wales seafood markets in the past 12 months?

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR: There are a number of elements to that question, which was highlighting examples and specifying outlets that may be acting in breach of the code. It would be prudent for me to take the question on notice and to return with a detailed response at a later date.

    4th March 2016


    In reply tothe Hon. MARK PEARSON (22 March 2016).

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR (Minister for Primary Industries, and Minister for Lands and Water)—The Minister for Primary Industries provided the following response:

    The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 [POCTA] only applies to a crustacean when at a building or place (such as a restaurant) where food is prepared or offered for consumption by retail sale in the building or place.

    The Department of Primary Industries guideline on humane harvesting of fish and crustaceans is not prescribed under POCTA, but is used by POCTA enforcement agencies to inform compliance and enforcement.

    The Departments guideline does not say that boiling of live hard shell crustaceans is an unacceptable method; it recommends that all crustaceans be immersed in a salt water/ice slurry for a minimum of 20 minutes before boiling, broiling, pithing or cutting.

    The Department of Primary Industries administers POCTA but does not enforce it or have information on breaches relating to crustaceans. The enforcement agencies are RSPCA NSW, Animal Welfare League NSW and NSW Police.

    RSCPA NSW has advised the Department that it has issued a penalty infringement notice to a proprietor at the Sydney Fish Markets in the past 12 months.

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