Wednesday was private members’ day in the House. A number of orders of papers and motions were considered and a private member’s bill reached the second reading debate stage. Read on to learn more about the day’s proceedings…

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Amendment (Animal Sentience) Bill 2022

In the afternoon of the Wednesday sitting, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Amendment (Animal Sentience) Bill 2022 was introduced into the House by Ms Boyd (The Greens). The objective of the bill is to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 in four ways:

  • By recognising the sentience and intrinsic value of animals and the duty of care people have to ensure the physical and mental welfare of animals in their charge
  • Amending the definition of pain to recognise different forms of suffering and distress and to include definitions of cruelty and sentience
  • Setting a standard for determining whether pain experienced by an animal is unreasonable or unnecessary for the purposes of the amended definition of cruelty
  • Requiring current animal welfare assessment models and best practice to be taken into account by the court, officers and the Secretary.

Ms Boyd’s second reading speech focused on the advancements in understanding of animal cognition, consciousness and sentience. Ms Boyd argued that while the Act currently recognises the ability of animals to feel pain and provides penalties for conduct that is considered to be cruel and harmful, it does not provide a clear basis for assessing the full-spectrum of animal welfare needs. Consequently, Ms Boyd argued that the current law ought to be amended to extend the duty of care that people have for animals to also create a duty to facilitate a positive life, built on the ‘five domains’ model, which recognises the interlinking nature of nutrition, physical environment, health, behavioural interactions and the mental state of the animal.    

At the conclusion of Ms Boyd’s second reading speech, according to standing order, debate was adjourned for five calendar days.

Roads Amendment (Tolling Transparency) Bill 2022

The Roads Amendment (Tolling Transparency) Bill 2022 was introduced by Mr Graham (Labor) back in June. The bill seeks to amend the Roads Act 1993 to require the prominent display of toll charges at each public entrance to a tollway, and to provide for transparency in and scrutiny of agreements entered into for the operation of tollways. On Wednesday, by agreement of the Business Committee, an initial hour was allocated to the second reading debate. Contributions to the debate can be seen in the Hansard.

Attendance of the Leader of the Government in his place – Noncompliance with an order for papers regarding Dungowan Dam, Wyangala Dam and Mole River Dam

As has been covered in a previous post, the House, on a number of occasions and in accordance with standing order 52, has ordered the production of the draft business cases of the Dungowan and Wyangala Dam project. During the last sitting period in June, Ms Faehrmann (The Greens) successfully suspended standing orders to move a contingent censure motion, which called on the Leader of the Government, Mr Tudehope, to provide the documents or, on the next occasion, face the prospect of having to give an explanation for non-compliance.

At the beginning of the Tuesday sitting, with the Government having failed to provide the documents ordered, the President called on the Leader of the Government to explain why the business cases had not been provided. Mr Tudehope got up and gave an undertaking that the summary business case would be made available to the Clerk by 10am on Thursday 11 August. The following evening, at 9.30pm, Mr Tudehope tabled a summary of the Dungowan Dam business case, stressing in his tabling statement that it was provided voluntarily by the Government, and not in response to the order for papers. This emphasis on the voluntary nature of the provision of the summary goes to the long running dispute between the House and Executive on the meaning of ‘Cabinet documents’ (further information on this debate can be found here).

Whether or not the House is satisfied with what has been provided by the Government is yet to be determined. A further update on the Dungowan and Wyangala Dams business cases will be provided during the September sitting period.

Orders for Papers

The following orders for papers were agreed to:

  • Agent General in the United Kingdom (Mr Mookhey, Labor) – due 17 August 2022
  • Exhibited animals – further orders (Ms Hurst, Animal Justice Party) – due 31 August 2022
  • Floodplain harvesting – further order (Ms Faehrmann, The Greens) – due 31 August 2022
  • Forestry Corporation of NSW (Mr Field, Independent) – due 7 September 2022
  • Government committee appointments (Mr Graham, Labor) – due 31 August 2022
  • Impact of teacher shortages (Mrs Houssos, Labor) – due 31 August 2022
  • Narrabri Gas (Ms Higginson, The Greens) – due 31 August 2022
  • NSW Building Commissioner resignation and Property Services Commissioner termination (Mrs Houssos, Labor) – due 11 August 2022
  • Sydney suburban stadiums (Mr Graham, Labor) – due 31 August 2022
  • Sale of TAFE NSW campuses – further order (Mr Veitch, Labor) – due 7 September 2022
  • Equine courses at TAFE NSW Richmond (Mr Buttigieg, Labor) – due 31 August 2022

General motions

The following general motions were debated and agreed to, including a motion to establish a Select Committee:

  • Select Committee on Barangaroo Sight Lines (Mr Latham, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation)
  • Honouring Richard Martin (Mr Pearson, Animal Justice Party)
  • National Volunteer Week (Mr Martin, Liberal)
  • Penrith Showground occupants (Mr Latham, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation)
  • Daffodil Day (Mr Fang, Nationals).

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