Following recent media about the impacts of price discounting, the drought and challenges on dairy farmers, this week we provide a snapshot of a new inquiry into the long term sustainability of the dairy industry. We also provide an update on additional hearings announced for the Budget Estimates process, and two new inquiries initiated as part of the Law and Justice Committee’s ongoing statutory oversight of the Dust Diseases and Lifetime Care & Support schemes.

As always, if you’re keen to find out more about any of our current or past inquiries, you can also find further information at our website.

New inquiry into the sustainability of the NSW dairy industry

Late last week, Portfolio Committee No. 5 – Industry and Transport commenced an inquiry into the long term sustainability of the dairy industry in New South Wales and the role of the Department of Primary Industries and other government agencies in supporting the industry.

The inquiry will examine the nature of, and relationship within, the value chain between farmers, processors and retailers and how these factors influence the price of dairy products. The committee will consider the impact of external influences on the dairy industry, including drought, water, energy, price setting and previous policies including deregulation of the industry and will also look at the role of government in addressing the economic challenges faced by the industry.

Submissions will close on 5 November 2018 and public hearings are scheduled for later that month. The committee will report back to Parliament by 14 December 2018.

Scrutiny continues as Budget Estimates committees agree to additional hearings

Budget Estimates returns front and centre this week as various committees agreed to hold additional hearings and, in a significant step, order the production of documents from the government.

  • Portfolio Committee No. 4 – Legal Affairs will hold two supplementary hearings on Wednesday 31 October for the Police and Corrections portfolios. The committee has also ordered the production of a draft report on juvenile justice matters from the Minister for Corrections, the Department of Justice and the Inspector of Custodial Services.
  • The Family and Community Services and Disability Services portfolios have also been called by Portfolio Committee No. 2 – Health Community Services for supplementary hearings on Monday 5 November.
  • The Portfolio Committees have asked for additional information to be provided in the over the next few weeks from a number of portfolios including:
    • Treasury
    • Transport and Infrastructure
    • Regional NSW, Skills, Small Business.

Committee investigates operation of Dust Diseases and Lifetime Care and Support schemes

The Law and Justice Committee recently commenced two new inquiries as part of their ongoing statutory oversight role – a review of the Dust Diseases scheme and Lifetime Care and Support scheme. These reviews help to monitor the operation of such schemes, and occur twice a Parliament, in accordance with section 27 of the State Insurance and Care Governance Act 2015. Submissions are open until 4 November for both inquiries, with reports due by the end of February 2019.

The Law and Justice Committee is also continuing work on two of their other statutory reviews – the 2018 reviews of the workers compensation scheme and Compulsory Third Party insurance scheme. With hearings now complete for these inquiries, the focus is now on finalising the committee’s report and recommendations.