Sunday, June 19, 2016

Time for big changes in Canberra

With pre polling booths now open, Australians are getting a real chance to send a message to Canberra. An informal vote looks very attractive! Voting for an army of independents is also a good option. It doesn't matter who forms Government – bureaucrats run the show anyway. Hopefully voters in the seat of Higgins will send politicians a message by dumping Small Business Minister Kelly O'Dwyer after she turned her back on small farm businesses in favour of big corporations in the ‘free range’ debacle. and voters in New England have the opportunity to get rid of Barnaby Joyce who is less than adequate as Deputy PM. It's way past time for some fundamental changes to our constitution to reduce costs for the economy. We don't need the current duplication of services in Canberra and the States. About the only function which needs to be administered Federally is defence. State Governments deliver all other services – including health and education so it makes no sense to pay for an army of bureaucrats and Ministers in Canberra who do little but polish chairs with their backsides and hold out their hands to grab our money. The duties of a Federal Government could be adequately performed by the Council of Australian Governments COAG. This would save billions of dollars every year.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Egg farmers could be heading for trouble if they adopt the new 'free range' standards proposed by Ministers.

Egg farmers who follow the new 'free range' standards proposed by Ministers for Consumer Affairs and the Federal Small Business Minister Kelly O'Dwyer could face trouble with planning laws as well as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. I wrote to Victoria's Planning Minister Richard Wynne, asking if the Minister could intervene in the decision to allow egg producers with stocking densities of 10,000 hens per hectare to be classified as free range instead of the accepted standard of 1500 hens per hectare. Mr Nick Wimbush, Acting Executive Director,Planning and Building Systems of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning responded, saying “It is not possible for the Minister to issue a directive regarding free range egg production as each proposal must be considered on its individual merits and circumstances in line with land use definitions. However, he said “changes to national labelling laws do not change these land use definitions or the farming zone. I recommend that an egg farmer considering increasing their stocking density in response to the labelling law changes contact the planning department of their municipal council for advice about whether planning approval will be required.” The ACCC has already said that it will review is guidelines for free range egg production in light of the recent ministerial decision. ACCC action in the Federal Court resulted in several fines of $300,000 against businesses which falsely labelled their eggs as free range.