MEDIA RELEASE - Minister must urgently appoint Agriculture Commissioner

NSW Labor is demanding the Government fulfil its election promise and urgently appoint an Agriculture Commissioner.

The commitment was made in February 2019 by the NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro and then Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair, who promised if the NSW Nationals were elected they would “get on to it straight away”.

Labor Shadow Minister for Primary Industries Jenny Aitchison delivered a Notice of Motion in the Legislative Assembly, condemning the Government for failing to appoint a Commissioner with powers to address contractual issues caused by monopolies in NSW agriculture.

“The government’s lack of action to appoint the promised Agriculture Commissioner is simply not good enough,” Ms Aitchison said.

“NSW Labor put questions on notice over 12 months ago asking for an update and timeframe for the appointment and the Government responded saying ‘that the exact scope, resourcing and reporting lines for the Agriculture Commissioner is currently under consideration.’”

During a Budget Estimates hearing in October 2019, the NSW Department of Primary Industries Director General, Scott Hansen confirmed the Agriculture Commissioner would be appointed before Christmas.

And in March Minister Adam Marshall said the Agriculture Commissioner would be appointed soon.

“How much longer does the agriculture sector have to wait?” Ms Aitchison asked.

“The Minister has sat on his hands for too long.

“He must act immediately and appoint the NSW Agriculture Commissioner without delay.”