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.

  • Time to stop the greyhound industry


    18th November 2015

    Second read speech.


    The Hon. MARK PEARSON [12.51 p.m.]: The Animal Justice Party will be opposing the Betting Tax Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 for the same reasons that have been endorsed and described in detail by the Shooters and Fishers Party and The Greens. The passage of this bill will mean that we continue to be captured by an industry that is fundamentally flawed and has systemic problems of abuse of human rights, protections and dignity, and those of animals. Each day in Parliament members say that they are here to stand up for the welfare of the people of New South Wales and Australia. The industry of gambling captures and destroys the lives of many people and also destroys the lives of their families and friends.

    It came as a great shock earlier this year when it was discovered that there was not just one bad apple in the greyhound industry. The commission of inquiry into the greyhound industry has shown that live baiting and other brutal, appalling treatments of rabbits, possums, cats and piglets are systemic. It is not just one bad apple, one bad operator or one bad training track; it is systemic. It is a cart of rotten apples. This Government and members of this House should not be captured by an industry that uses animals in racing, because ultimately it is an industry that is all about abuse: abuse of the people who bet and of their families and friends; abuse of society; and abuse of the silent ones, the millions of animals through time that have suffered appallingly within this industry. For these reasons, the Animal Justice Party cannot support this bill. I indicate that if the bill passes the second reading I will be proposing to move an amendment at the Committee stage.

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON [4.21 p.m.]: I move Animal Justice Party amendment No. 1 on sheet C2015-172A.

    No. 1  Tax Reduction Trust Fund

    Page 6, schedule 2 [2], proposed section 70A. Insert after line 22:

    (4)      Despite subsection (3), no amounts are to be paid out of the Fund until after the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Greyhound Racing Industry in New South Wales has reported to the Governor.

    This amendment is fairly straightforward. It pertains to subsection (3) of section 70A of the Betting Tax Legislation Amendment Bill 2015, which states:

    (3)     The following amounts may be paid out of the Fund, subject to any requirements specified in the regulations:

    (a)     such amounts as the Minister directs to be paid from the Fund to Greyhound Racing New South Wales.

    The reason the Animal Justice Party moved this amendment is clear. The special commission of inquiry into the greyhound industry has been on foot for some time. The evidence coming forth from that inquiry is extremely disturbing and confirms a lot of the evidence that was procured over the past 18 months about the extreme brutalities and systemic cruelty not only to dogs but also to many other small animals in the greyhound racing industry. Live baiting is systemic to this industry. The maltreatment of greyhounds and the death of thousands of greyhounds is a necessary component to the greyhound industry.

    Putting those issues aside, I call upon members to vote for this amendment because it is a logical amendment that does not allow any funds to be given to Greyhound Racing NSW after the report of the special commission of inquiry into greyhound racing has been sent to the Governor, which will be after the debate and subsequent considerations have been put in place. This industry is under serious question. Most communities around Australia are suspicious that there is a sinister and cruel side to this industry. It would be unconscionable for members to support any funds going to the greyhound racing industry during this extremely critical time.

    The Hon. DUNCAN GAY (Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, and Vice-President of the Executive Council) [4.24 p.m.]: The Government does not support the amendment, which would prevent any form of access to the trust fund before the special commission reports its findings. The Hon. Mark Pearson has made up his mind what the report will say. Other members have not prejudged the outcome of the special commission of inquiry and will remain fair until the report is released. The intention of the Government is that the funds remain in trust. However, given the uncertain nature and status of the greyhound racing industry, it may mean that there is a genuine need—we cannot see one at the moment but there may be one in the future—for the secretary to release funds to Greyhound Racing NSW. The arrangements as set out in the Betting Tax Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 establish sufficient safeguards with some flexibility, which is appropriate in the circumstances. For those reasons the Government does not support the amendment.

    The Hon. ADAM SEARLE (Leader of the Opposition) [4.25 p.m.]: The Opposition supports the Animal Justice Party amendment. We understand that it is the intention of the Government for the funds relating to greyhound racing to be quarantined in the fund until the special commission of inquiry into greyhound racing is completed and the Government’s response to that inquiry is finalised. The Minister made those comments in his second reading speech. This amendment is reflective of that approach and we see no harm in making explicit what is at least implicit in the approach taken by the Government.

    Dr JOHN KAYE [4.25 p.m.]: The Greens support the Animal Justice Party amendment. We believe it is totally sensible that the money be frozen after the McHugh inquiry has reported its findings. The Minister said that the Hon. Mark Pearson has prejudged the outcome of the McHugh inquiry. I did not hear him say that, but he is reflecting a commonly held opinion that the inquiry will report strong findings. Given the evidence that was presented at the public hearing in its first week and in the last two days of the public hearing, it would be surprising if it did not. Nonetheless, whatever the findings it is accepted by this Parliament and this Minister that there is a severe cloud over Greyhound Racing NSW. The activity of greyhound racing in New South Wales stands accused of wholesale animal welfare abuses. To allow money to be allocated to that industry now would interfere with the idea that the future of this code is up for question before the McHugh inquiry.

    The CHAIR (The Hon. Trevor Khan): Order! I remind members that they are to address the amendment, not make a second reading speech.

    Dr JOHN KAYE: Thank you for the reminder. I am talking directly to the idea that money should not be allowed out of that fund until the McHugh inquiry has made a finding about the future of the industry. The Greens say there is a serious question mark not only over the future of Greyhound Racing NSW but over its performance. For it to be awarded any money whatsoever would run contrary to public opinion, the public interest and the use of this money. The Greens support the sensible amendment.

    Question—That Animal Justice Party amendment No. 1 [C2015-172A] be agreed to—put.

    The Committee divided.

    Ayes, 16

    Mr Buckingham

    Ms Cotsis

    Mr Donnelly

    Dr Faruqi

    Mrs Houssos

    Dr Kaye

    Mr Mookhey

    Mr Moselmane

    Mr Primrose

    Mr Searle

    Mr Secord

    Ms Sharpe

    Mr Shoebridge

    Mr Veitch


    Ms Barham

    Mr Pearson

    Noes, 21

    Mr Ajaka

    Mr Amato

    Mr Blair

    Mr Borsak

    Mr Brown

    Mr Clarke

    Mr Colless

    Ms Cusack

    Mr Gallacher

    Mr Gay

    Mr Green

    Mr Harwin

    Mr MacDonald

    Mr Mallard

    Mr Mason-Cox

    Mrs Mitchell

    Reverend Nile

    Mr Pearce

    Mrs Taylor


    Mr Franklin

    Dr Phelps


    Ms Voltz

    Mr Farlow

    Mr Wong

    Mrs Maclaren-Jones

    Question resolved in the negative.

    Animal Justice Party amendment No. 1 [C2015-172A] negatived.

    The full debate can be read here.


    20th October 2010

    Questions without notice.


    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Primary Industries, and Minister for Lands and Water, representing the Minister for Mental Health. As raised in my discussions with the Minister for Health at a recent budget estimates hearing, I was advised that in its strategic plan for mental health, called Living Well, the Government made a commitment to fund early intervention, community-focused health and social support services. Such services will assist people who suffer from mental illness to return to living in the community sooner but in a supported way. Examples include the Professor Marie Bashir Centre at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the new community mental health facilities at Wagga Wagga Base Hospital. Will the Minister advise the House of the timetable for the rollout of such community-based, early intervention mental health services across New South Wales?

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR: I know that the Hon. Mark Pearson has a particular interest in mental health. The question asks for details and time lines. I will refer the question to the relevant Minister and come back with a detailed response.

    To date (4th February 2018) there has been no response


    13th October 2015

    Questions without notice.


    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight. On my recent travels around regional New South Wales I met with the Wildlife Information and Rescue Service [WIRES], the wildlife carers, which advised me that while it receives a high volume of calls regarding wildlife injured on our roads, many animals are left to suffer because of outdated road signage advertising local numbers that are no longer in use. For some time WIRES has been asking Roads and Maritime Services to update roadside signs to advertise the statewide 1300 helpline number, but to date this has not occurred. Will the Minister direct Roads and Maritime Services immediately to update its injured wildlife road signs to include this statewide phone number for reporting injured and orphaned wildlife?

    The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: I thank the member for what I believe is his first question directed to me. I have been waiting and waiting and I have had a folder with me in anticipation of a question from him. It is a good and important question that I will take on notice. I will consult with my department to find out what is happening. If the member is correct—I have no reason to assume that he is not—as soon as we properly can we will put in train appropriate changes in that area.

    17th November 2015

    The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: On 13 October 2015 the Hon. Mark Pearson asked me a question about injured wildlife road signs. I provide the following response:

    I am advised:

    WIRES is responsible for making and installing WIRES road signs. Roads and Maritime Services assesses sign design and provides approval of new signs on the State’s road network. Roads and Maritime is working with WIRES to identify which signs require updating.

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