DAFWA review panel named

Brad ThompsonThe West Australian

Agriculture Minister Ken Baston has belatedly appointed a six-member panel to review the operations of his department.

The appointments come nine months after Mr Baston ordered the review over claims the Department of Agriculture and Food WA was in crisis.

It follows the sudden departure of DAFWA director-general Rob Delane, who was parachuted into a new role within the Department of State Development this month.

Mr Baston said agriculture consultant Peter Cooke would chair a stocktake of DAFWA to help shape its future direction and resourcing needs.

The Barnett Government has slashed 450 jobs at DAWFA, with more to come, as it moves out of research and development to become little more than a regulatory authority.

Mr Baston said the review’s recommendations would focus on the Government’s Agrifood 2025+ goal of doubling the value of WA’s agriculture and food sectors between 2013 and 2025.

The panel includes Peter Nixon (chairman of the ministerial agricultural advisory committee), acting DAFWA director-general Mark Webb, biosecurity expert Kevin Goss and representatives from the Department of Treasury and DAFWA.

Peter Cooke is a former chief executive of the Kondinin Group and has a long family history in farming at Moora.

The review has been subject to a series of delays, but Mr Baston said he expected the panel to report by mid-year.

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