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Estimates: Questioning the Agriculture Department and Director General about shade and shelter for animals

During Parliamentary Budget Estimates on Wednesday 27 July 2022, I asked the Agriculture Minister and Director General about livestock illnesses and injuries due to heat and sun exposure in Queensland.  

You can read the answers below or in the official Queensland Parliament Record of Proceedings (Hansard).

Mr BERKMAN: Director-General, I understand that the provision of shade and shelter for animals in Queensland was not part of the recent review of the Animal Care and Protection Act, but it is an issue of some concern to a number of advocates in this area. What research or statistics are available from the department regarding the number of deaths or illnesses amongst livestock caused by sun exposure?

Mr FURNER: Chair, I would ask for your guidance in relation to this question in that it relates to a bill before the House. With the bill before the House, which this committee examined, there may be opportunities to raise this issue in the second reading of the bill when it reaches the chamber.

CHAIR: Thank you, Minister. Member for Maiwar, through the submissions that may or may not have been raised, but certainly it may well be something that is debated when that does come to parliament which I am hoping will be very soon. I do not know if there is anything that the directorgeneral or the minister can advance without breaching standing orders.

Mr BERKMAN: If I might suggest, I can simply recast the question without the preamble that makes reference to the review.

CHAIR: Let us try again.

Mr BERKMAN: Leaving the preamble aside, what research or statistics could the department make available regarding the number of deaths or illnesses amongst livestock caused by sun exposure in Queensland?

Mr Gee: To my knowledge we do not publish those specific statistics. We are open to providing those things. I am more than happy to take the member for a briefing through our material, but our website is instructive in terms of the amount of material. It is a really specific question. We publish in annual reports and other places the number of compliance activities we undertake from time to time, investigations of the type, but, understanding the anticipation rule, I am not sure I should comment any further.

Mr BERKMAN: To be clear, though, my understanding is that this is not an issue specifically— that is, the provision of shade for livestock—that is addressed in the bill. I am ready to be corrected on that. I am keen to know specifically what statistics you can provide to the committee.

Mr FURNER: I may be of some assistance. Although it is not directly with regard to numbers, I can advise the committee that every primary producer I engage with takes animal welfare very seriously. In fact, many of the feedlots that are being established or renewed these days are providing shade for those animals. There is a direct focus on animal welfare as primary producers want to make sure their animals are cared for in the most appropriate ways.

CHAIR: Member for Maiwar, you may need to bring that up directly with the minister’s office. That may well be one of the issues that is debated, about why it is not in the bill, when that does come up.

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