The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association (TFGA) is the leading representative body for Tasmanian primary producers. TFGA members are responsible for generating approximately 80% of the value created by the Tasmanian agricultural sector.

The total Tasmanian gross state product (GSP) was $23.9 billion for the 2012 year. The GVP of agriculture, forestry and fishing collectively amounted to almost 9% of this total – before input supply services and value-adding, which is well above that for the nation as a whole.

The TFGA is grateful for the opportunity to make comment to the Poisons Amendment (Poppy Industry Reform) Bill 2016. The TFGA also appreciates any attempt by the government to streamline the Poisons Act 1971, simplification of this Act will benefit the Poppy Industry as a whole. The TFGA also appreciates the level of communication and interaction received through this process.

The TFGA would like to raise some concerns with regards to the Poisons Amendment (Poppy Industry Reform) Bill 2016.

  • 1.Comment Timeframe
  • 2.Access to information
  • The TFGA understands that when a male is referred to in the Poisons Act 1971, it also applies to women but, it is important to make amendments where and when it is possible, so that the law is gender neutral or specific. It is very important to the TFGA that women are given the appropriate recognition for their roles on and in farm businesses as owners, business partners and stakeholders. It is noted that in some instances in the Amendments this has been changed.
  • The TFGA would also like to express a concern regarding the use of American English throughout the draft document. It is understood that the Poisons Amendment (Poppy Industry Reform) Bill 2016 is a “draft only” document, but it is of concern when it appears in the Poisons Act itself e.g. Section 49 (1) (d). The above section also includes the word “cultivate” which has been omitted from 59G. Interpretations.

The time for comment on the Poisons Amendment (Poppy Industry Reform) Bill 2016 in total amounted to two weeks. Considering the complexity of the Act and the time frame allowed, consultation with Industry and our members has been difficult. Allowing appropriate time for dissemination and consideration has been strained.

The TFGA would strongly oppose any powers that would allow the board to access any private financial documentation/information of any individual. This concern relates to:

6. Part 1A Inserted - After section 5 of the principle Act.

Subsection 8 (2)b.

This section refers to the “responsible licencing authority” having the power to “obtain financial or other confidential information”. The need for the licencing authority to have such information is more than questionable, in the context of other avenues being available to verify the veracity of the grower.

Notwithstanding these concerns, the TFGA would like to commend the State government for being proactive in this area, with a healthy, sustainable and efficient Agricultural industry, these amendments reflect a more contemporary arrangement, which is of benefit for both the industry and the whole of the Tasmanian economy.

Please contact the TFGA if you require any further information.

Yours sincerely

Peter Skillern

Chief Executive Officer

August 2016

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