A new Victorian Government animal welfare group has been thrown into the spotlight following accusations it was established without proper consultation.
Victorian Nationals leader Peter Walsh took aim at Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford over Animal Welfare Victoria, accusing her of setting up the body to win preferences in inner-city seats.
‘‘Our farmers and regional communities are sick of the Premier for Melbourne always putting politics and inner-city votes ahead of our regional industries,’’ Mr Walsh said.
‘‘Our farmers’ livelihoods depends on them being experts in animal welfare, but Daniel Andrews and Jaala Pulford have made no effort to hear their views.
‘‘The Agriculture Minister owes regional Victoria an explanation on why she failed to consult on Animal Welfare Victoria and the $500000 in grants announced at the same time.’’
Ms Pulford denied the claims the group was established to secure preference deals in parliament last week, also rebuking suggestions the group was established without proper consultation.
‘‘The government talks to stakeholders about animal welfare issues on a very regular basis,’’ she told parliament.
‘‘It is a matter of great interest to our livestock industries, it is a matter of great interest to the dairy industry, it is a subject of great interest to consumers and to our export markets, and it is important for all people who are interested in our animal industries.
‘‘We meet with and discuss matters of animal welfare policy with many.’’