The Western Australian Government has announced a massive public sector reform, with 40 per cent of existing government departments to be amalgamated.
Under the reform, the new WA 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, the current WA Government 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 WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development through the amalgamation of agencies including the current Department of Agriculture and Food WA makes sense.
“WA Minister MacTiernan is not only in charge of the Agriculture and Food portfolio but is also WA Minister for Regional Development, so by combining her expertise with that of WA Minister David Kelly as WA 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 Western Australia’s economy and deserves the WA Government’s highest interest, so the new WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development 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.”