Parliamentary speeches and updates for Georgie Purcell MP - Sitting Week 2nd - 4th May. Speeches this week include a Question Without Notice on Dairy Industry, a Constituency Question on Calder Freeway Koalas, Motions on Jumps and Greyhounds, a Member Statement on Duck Shooting Opening and Adjournment Matters on Cultivated Meat and Family Violence Prevention.
2nd May 2023 - Constituency Question - Calder Freeway Koalas
Georgie PURCELL (Northern Victoria): My question is for the Minister for Roads and Road Safety. On 14 April Noah&Lil wildlife rescue in Woodend scooped up their fourth koala this year from the Calder Freeway in Macedon. Caldie the koala was attempting to cross the busy freeway in front of trucks doing 110 kilometres per hour because he made his way through a hole in a damaged fence. The fences along the Calder Freeway are in a state of disrepair, and my constituents are not getting answers or action. Caldie was lucky that his story did not end there, like it sadly did for the other three koalas that were rescued. After rehabilitation, he is, for now, safely back in the treetops of Macedon where he belongs. If this fence is not fixed, Caldie and other native animals face the very real threat of being killed on our roads by road strike. My constituents want to know when the minister will fix the fences along the Calder Freeway from Macedon to Woodend to help keep our wildlife safe.
2nd May 2023 - Adjournment Matter - Magic Valley / Cultivated Meat
Georgie PURCELL (Northern Victoria): My adjournment matter this evening is for the Minister for Industry and Innovation, and the action I seek is for him to attend Australia’s first cultivated meat lab, right here in Victoria. Magic Valley are a Victorian-based company that have developed lamb and pork products without killing or harming animals. Instead, a non-invasive sample, usually an ear swab, is taken from one animal, one time, in order to collect starter cells. The animal, in the first case with Magic Valley, was a lamb called Lucy, who instead of enduring a lifetime of suffering is now free to live out her life in peace. The cells obtained from Lucy were expanded and turned into stem cells, then inserted into a nutrient-rich culture medium where they literally grew into muscle and fat. The meat harvested from Lucy’s single sample can now be generated over and over again without further involvement from her or other animals.
If it does not sound like the real thing, let me explain to you the ways in which it is different. Unlike traditional meat products, cultivated meat requires no slaughter. It does not contain added growth hormones or antibiotics, reducing the risk of antimicrobial resistance. In a world where up to 75 per cent of antibiotics produced are for animal agriculture, this is very important. Cultivated meat has far less greenhouse gas emissions, and there is no continuous increase in land use. Producers of lab-grown meat are using less water and less energy with virtually zero waste to create consistent and sustainable access to protein globally. Since it is grown in a lab, cultivated meat can be tailored for specific nutritional outcomes and could help eliminate the myriad health risks associated with traditional meat products, such as cardiovascular disease and cancers.
Last month I was lucky enough to be invited to one of the first-ever tastings of lab-grown pork in Australia. Despite supporting it wholeheartedly, like many long-term vegans I did not think it was something I would ever actually try myself. But the reality is there are people out there who will never give up eating meat. Now that I have tried it, I am convinced they do not have to give it up. The launch of Magic Valley cultivated pork was the first time I had eaten meat in many, many years, and it was just as I remember it. This incredible development is a game changer, and I hope the minister will commit to visiting Magic Valley and learning about these exciting opportunities that support environmentally friendly innovation right here in Victoria. If it means cruelty is off the table, then why would you eat anything else?
2nd May 2023 - Notice - Greyhounds Deaths
2nd May 2023 - Notice - Jumps Racing
3rd May 2023 - Question Without Notice - Dairy Industry
Substantive question, GEORGIE PURCELL — To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture:
My question is for the minister representing the Minister for Agriculture today. Like any other mammal, to produce milk female cows and goats must become pregnant and give birth. For the dairy industry, these animals are often kept in a continuous cycle of pregnancy so that their milk can be used for human consumption. Since male calves and kids cannot produce milk, they are considered waste to the dairy industry and are usually slaughtered in the very first week of their lives. Victorian guidelines recommend so-called humane destruction of waste animals to include firearms, captive bolt or blunt force trauma, and investigations across Victoria have found baby animals being routinely bludgeoned with sledgehammers and thrown against walls. Currently this is completely legal. A 2020 parliamentary inquiry recommended a review into the use of blunt force trauma on male baby animals in the dairy industry. The government supported this recommendation. Now three years since the report, can the minister advise on the progress?
Victoria has no tolerance when it comes to animal cruelty. Any alleged breaches of our animal welfare laws are taken seriously and will be investigated by Agriculture Victoria as the regulator for farm livestock welfare issues, in accordance with the relevant legislation and departmental procedures.
All sectors of the dairy calf industry must comply with the Code of Accepted Farming Practice for the Welfare of Cattle. Investigations and prosecutions conducted under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act take into account a person’s adherence to the relevant code.
The relevant code does not permit the use of blunt force to euthanise dairy calves except in extreme circumstances where no other methods are available.
Regulators will investigate any alleged breaches of the code and take appropriate action under Victoria’s current animal cruelty laws.
Anyone with an animal cruelty complaint relating to bobby calves should contact Agriculture Victoria on 136 186 or email [email protected].
Agriculture Victoria has advised it has not received reports of alleged throwing of dairy calves against walls, which is an offence under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
Agriculture Victoria Authorised Officers undertake audits in relation to dairy calf welfare at saleyards, scale operations and abattoirs, and investigate any detection of non-compliance, or reports of animal welfare concerns.
A review is being finalised for Government consideration, in relation to Recommendation 12 of the Parliamentary Inquiry into the impact of animal activism on Victorian agriculture. The review process has included consultation with the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee.
The Government is progressing reforms to modernise the State's animal welfare framework.
Thank you, Minister, for referring that on. My supplementary is: the Victorian dairy industry does not report how many animals it kills as waste products. Can the minister confirm how many male calves and kids are killed by Victoria’s dairy industry each year?
Dairy calves are valuable livestock that provide economic benefits to many Victorian dairy farms.
Approximately 200,000 dairy calves are processed in Victorian abattoirs annually. This figure includes dairy calves consigned from properties in NSW and South Australia.
All Victorian abattoirs that process dairy calves must meet the animal welfare section in the Australian Standard for the Hygienic Production and Transportation of Meat and Meat Products for Human Consumption (AS 4696:2007). PrimeSafe is the statutory authority responsible in Victoria for regulating the processing of livestock for meat and pet food.
Dairy calves are used for a number or purposes including rearing as replacement heifers, and for the production of beef when calves reach approximately 12 months of age.
3rd May 2023 - Member Statement - Duck Shooting
Georgie PURCELL (Northern Victoria): Last Wednesday I joined duck rescuers at Lake Connewarre for the opening day of the Labor government’s annual recreational duck-shooting season. Despite there being only a handful of shooters, rules were still broken: native waterbirds were shot and injured but not retrieved. After 10 am, when they were permitted to do so, volunteer rescuers entered the water to commence the almost impossible task of searching for wounded birds in the vast waters and thick reeds.
At wetlands across Victoria the reports of wounded birds came flooding in, with Wildlife Victoria reporting over 70 unretrieved birds across just five wetlands in the first five days, including eight threatened and protected species. Blue-winged shovelers and freckled ducks – threatened species – are legally shot and left to suffer at the hands of this dying so-called pastime. This season around 80,000 birds will be killed in Victoria, and with a wounding rate of 40 per cent, reported by the RSPCA, at least 32,000 birds will be shot and horrifically injured but not killed over the next five weeks. With shooters failing to retrieve birds, it is volunteer rescuers that save as many as possible from the prolonged suffering. May this year be the very last that birds suffer at the hands of this government.
4th May 2023 - Adjournment Matter - Family Violence Prevention
Georgie PURCELL (Northern Victoria): My adjournment matter this evening is for the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence, and the action I seek is for her to consider the case for a domestic violence disclosure scheme and a domestic violence offenders registry in Victoria. In 2014 domestic violence was declared a national emergency in Australia. In 2023 the single most unsafe place for a woman in Australia is still inside her own home. Currently, eight years on from the Royal Commission into Family Violence, in the absence of significant and effective primary prevention mechanisms or strategies across our entire country, including Victoria, rates of domestic and family violence and sexual violence continue to increase.
The introduction of a domestic violence disclosure scheme that allows an individual to gain access to a potential partner’s relevant and contemporary history of violence is critical to avoiding new women and children becoming victims. Under a disclosure scheme, a woman would no longer need to meet the present qualifying threshold of having an act of violence committed against her to obtain information relevant to her safety. Such a scheme carries further utility to mitigate risks for victim-survivors wishing to enter into relationships with new potential partners. In conjunction, a domestic violence offenders registry would provide a means to effectively monitor and manage highly violent and recidivistic offenders within our community.
In Victoria, the intervention of a royal commission and national- and state-based action plans have failed to result in reductions in the rates of domestic and sexual violence. Despite all 227 recommendations of the royal commission having been implemented, the fact remains that our system is response based in nature and not geared towards primary prevention. There remain extensive gaps in preventing domestic violence before it occurs, and perpetrators are inadequately managed or monitored within the community. Most systems, resources and expenditure are only relevant once an act of violence has occurred. Advocates see these schemes as not a solution but an essential component to prioritising primary prevention initiatives throughout Victoria. I hope the minister will consider committing to meeting with advocates for the scheme and the registry in order to prioritise primary prevention as opposed to our existing strategy of harm minimisation in domestic violence throughout Victoria.
I thank the member for Northern Victoria Region for her question.
Earlier this year, I announced that the Andrews Labor Government had acquitted all 227 recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence. Among this list of 227 recommendations was the introduction of the Family Violence Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework (MARAM) and the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (FVISS) reforms.
These reforms are building the knowledge and skills of approximately 400,000 workers across more than 5,800 organisations to better assess and manage risk and share relevant information.
Under Victoria’s Family Violence Information Sharing scheme, key prescribed organisations and services can share information relevant to assessing or managing family violence risk. This supports keeping perpetrators in view and accountable, while promoting the safety of victim survivors.
Professionals in the scheme can share information about a perpetrator’s behaviours and attitudes with people experiencing or at risk of family violence to support safety planning and risk management.
It is important to note that the Royal Commission into Family Violence did not recommend a domestic violence disclosure scheme or domestic violence offenders registry for Victoria. A key concern was that these can give a false sense of security, for example if a perpetrator does not have a recorded history of offending. The Royal Commission cited concerns that such schemes place the onus on the victim survivor to seek information and manage risk.
Some key stakeholders have also expressed concerns around the possible unintended consequences of such a registry, whereas the MARAM and FVISS reforms support the system to manage risk and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions.
If the Member would like to discuss this matter in further detail, my office is available to meet with the Member at a mutually agreeable time.
The Hon. Ros Spence MP, Minister for Prevention of Family Violence