Important legislation awaits the return of the NSW Parliament, which is expected to resume on October 14.
Finally, the government heeded my calls to introduce a virtual facility to enable the safe operation for the MPs and advisors located across the state.
I will be able to participate in the next sittings from my electorate office, finally bringing NSW Parliament into the 21st century!
Led by the Minister for Agriculture, Adam Marshall, the NSW government is working with the Animal Justice Party and other animal rights groups to completely rewrite animal welfare laws in NSW.
The purpose of these reforms is to align NSW's animal welfare laws to animal rights ideals.
The Nationals' Member for Northern Tablelands has, seemingly, abandoned his party's principles of supporting farmers and people of the bush by flagging this radical animal protection reform.
This is not the first time the Nationals have made radical decisions on animal welfare issues. The Nationals' abrupt intention to ban greyhound racing was met with a storm of widespread opposition, and was a major issue in the 2016 Orange by-election and one which weighed heavily toward my election as the Member for Orange.
The proposed reforms will completely rewrite the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (POCTAA).
The new laws are broad and far reaching.
Increasing fines and penalties along the way.
I have no problem throwing the book at those who abuse or deliberately mistreat animals, but the potential interpretations of this purposefully vague legislation will bestow powers to radical individuals of organisations charged with responsibility of enforcing these laws.
The changes are purposefully vague which will allow incredibly broad interpretations by organisations with police powers such as the RSPCA, and the proposed law would allow, with minister approval, groups like PETA, Animal Liberation, Voiceless and others these same police powers.
They will then be able to invent reasons to charge law-abiding citizens for unquantifiable crimes like "causing unnecessary harm" or causing "psychological harm".
What could we lose is these laws are passed?
Catch and release fishing could be deemed unnecessary harm by a zealous enforcement officer.
Farmers could be charged for causing psychological harm by using dogs to round up livestock, breaking-in a riding horse or even forcing a steer down a loading ramp.
The animal rights extremists would even claim that forcing animals to breed is "psychological harm", which is included in the definition of cruelty in these new reforms.
There are no protections in place for modern farming practices, only defences.
The existing legislation to protect animals from cruelty is suitably adequate and far more reasonable, and doesn't need to be tampered with.
My SFF colleague and Member for Barwon, Roy Butler, has sponsored an ePetition to stop these changes.
Twenty-thousand signatures are needed to ensure that this gets debated in parliament before any bill can be put to parliament.
If you'd like to support the ePetition, visit this link: https://bit.ly/3FcejdF
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