Policies

FIREARMS POLICY

What we know from long experience:

  • An increase in firearms legislation for firearm license holders will not reduce gun crimes against property or persons.
  • Restrictions on the legal access to firearms will not reduce the number of illegal firearms in the community.
  • Firearms legislation in Western Australia is inefficiently administrated, too open to interpretation, excessively expensive and unnecessarily adversarial.
  • Firearm license holders come from many different walks of life. They include farmers, hunters and sporting shooters, whose disciplines include target rifle, re-enactors, collectors, clay target and practical pistol.
  • Farmers and professional shooters require firearms for vermin control. Controlling pests is crucial in earning and protecting their income.
  • Any changes to firearm legislation must be based on evidence and facts, not emotional rhetoric.
  • Legitimate firearms users in Western Australia are amongst the most responsible and law abiding people in the community.

We believe: 

Licensed firearms ownership is a legitimate activity and, like driving a motor vehicle, is subject to the laws of the land.  However, these laws must not discriminate against licensed firearms ownership with no measurable public safety benefit.

Firearm license holders in Australia have many genuine reasons to own firearms.  Firearms law must acknowledge this by being fair and reasonable.

Basic principles 

  • The WA government must not use the firearms licensing process to frustrate applications from genuine applicants.
  • Fees for licensing firearms must reflect efficient cost recovery and not an expensive, inefficient overly burdensome system used to frustrate and restrict gun ownership.
  • The WA government must adopt a system of licensing the person, and registering firearms held by that licensee, to establish an efficient and cost effective system.

We will fight for:

  1. An increase in resources to focus on the illicit firearms market
  2. Firearms to be judged on their mechanical function, not their appearance
  3. Recreational hunting on public land.
  4. No arbitrary limits on the number of firearms a single firearm licence holder can possess.
  5. A discount on licensing fees for WA Seniors Card members, in the same way that Recreational Fishing Licences attract a 50% discount.
  6. A discount on fees and without the need for a full application process when a licensed person applies for a firearm to be traded – that is like for like of a firearm the licensee currently holds.
  7. The ordinary term of a Firearms License to be increased to five years.
  8. Recognise the use of sound suppressors to reduce the incidence of hearing loss amongst shooters.
  9. Shared storage of firearms.
  10. The lending of a firearm to a person who holds the same license category as the firearm.
  11. The Firearms Act 1973 should not apply to antique firearms.
  12. Recognition of firearm licences issued by other States or Territories without the need for a temporary permit.
  13. Remove components of ammunition being defined as ammunition.

January 2017

FISHERIES POLICY

What we know from long experience:

  • Western Australian fisheries are strictly regulated to ensure they remain sustainable.
  • It is estimated that recreational fishing contributes more than $500 million per annum to the state economy.
  • 34% of the Western Australian population is involved in some form of recreational fishing.
  • Every-day Western Australians from all walks of life and all ages engage in fishing.
  • Recreational fishing is one of the few outdoor activities that can be enjoyed regardless of age or ability providing the benefits of physical activity.
  • Regulating for size and sex of fish, while appropriate for biological productivity goals, does nothing to prevent their initial capture.
  • Controlling how many fish are caught (which is what traditional fisheries management does) has substantially more influence on overall fish abundance than controlling where fish are caught.

We believe

  • Fishing is a healthy, outdoor leisure activity that must remain accessible to all Western Australians.
  • Fishing is an activity that can be pursued for numerous valid reasons, at any level of expertise, for many different rewards.
  • Recreational, commercial and charter enterprises can all have a role in resource sharing to support sustainable fisheries.
  • Traditional fisheries management works better than locking up ocean areas as marine protected areas.
  • Marine parks impose enormous public cost to the community with no measurable environmental benefit.

Basic principles

  • Western Australia has the longest coastline of all the Australian states.
  • 91% of Western Australia’s population live within 50km of the coast
  • Western Australia has the highest rate of boat ownership in Australia (18.9%).
  • Immediate release should only be practised if captured fish can survive upon release. Many fish are likely to be dead when returned to the sea.
  • Fish that suffer from high discard mortality from barotrauma, can only be supported if there is evidence that they frequent near shore shallow waters, and the post discard survival rate is relatively high in such estuarine and near shore waters.
  • The legislative authority for marine protected areas should be fisheries legislation and not environmental legislation.

We will fight for:

  1. Improved vehicle access to beaches for family fishing.
  2. Tougher sentencing of illegal poaching of Australian fish stocks.
  3. Education on recreational and commercial fishing activities.
  4. Sustainable recreational and commercial fishing operations.
  5. We will oppose lock outs that are not based on sound fisheries management.
  6. Compensation to commercial and charter fishers when fisheries quotas are reduced.
  7. Support opportunities for inland fishing hubs for recreational fishers

January 2017

STATE TAXATION POLICY

What we know from long experience:

  • Taxation must be efficient, administratively simple to understand and easy to collect.
  • Taxation must be broad based, and sustainable so government can accurately forecast forward estimates.
  • Tax reform is not simple and will require negotiation and bipartisanship.
  • Taxation must not distort business activity by causing businesses to make decisions based on tax grounds instead of market forces.
  • The tax system should not be a disincentive to investment and job creation.

We believe

Payroll tax, land tax and transfer (stamp) duty are anti-business, anti-private enterprise, anti-investment and anti-job creation.  They must be abolished.

The current GST system benefits and supports other states who follow failed green economic policies. These welfare states are given an unfair advantage over a development state like Western Australia.

Western Australia must receive a greater share of the revenue raised from the GST to replace payroll and land tax, and transfer (stamp) duty.

This will stimulate the economy and contribute to the repair of the Western Australian state budget deficit, and pay down net public sector debt.

Basic principles

  • Payroll tax is levied regardless of business profits. It reduces business expansion by encouraging businesses to remain under the exemption threshold by not employing more people.
  • Transfer (stamp) duty increases the cost of moving house and therefore impedes relocation, labour mobility, efficient up-sizing or down-sizing of property across the population. This discourages people from purchasing a more desirable property. It restricts business transactions with duty applied to both real and non-real assets and is a significant barrier to succession planning and restructuring particularly in agri-business.
  • Land tax is collected at a progressive rate. This makes it a wealth tax, with the majority of tax being paid as the value of land increases. Aggregation provisions increases the tax rate.
  • Payroll tax is forecast to provide 39.6% ($3,536.2 million) of total state taxes in Western Australia.
  • Transfer (stamp) duty is forecast to provide 15.5% ($1,387.2 million) of total state taxes in Western Australia.
  • Land tax is forecast to provide 10% ($895.8 million) of total state taxes in Western Australia.
  • If Western Australia received its fair share of revenue raised from GST on a population basis, it would be worth $10,243.2 million.

We will fight for:

  1. Abolition of state land and payroll taxes and stamp duties.
  2. A greater share of the untied funding from the GST. On a population basis Western Australia should receive 11% of GST but instead only receives 3%, based on the recommendation of the Commonwealth Grants Commission. The current GST system is a state’s wealth sharing system.
  3. GST distribution recommendations must not be justified by smoothing historical data. This fundamentally disadvantages Western Australia, which is reliant on ever-changing world commodity prices for its mining and petroleum royalties.
  4. Western Australia should not be punished for being a resource rich state that exports commodities. Western Australia contributes to the nation’s positive balance of payments that allows all Australians to buy and enjoy imported goods.

AGRICULTURE POLICY

What we know from long experience:

  • Western Australia has proven time and again that it can grow a wide variety of livestock and crops.
  • Technology is the farmers’ and pastoralists’ friend and its uptake must be encouraged.
  • Agriculture provides long term economic benefits to all Western Australians through its positive contribution to the balance of trade.
  • Rural and regional landowners provide a reservoir of volunteers willing and able to fight fires. They must be engaged and supported.
  • When farmers and pastoralists make money, they spend locally, and their communities benefit and grow.

We believe

  • The WA government must support agriculture by providing the social infrastructure that will make rural communities desirable places to live in, and also deliver the roads, railways and ports necessary for farmers to transport their produce to market, be that domestic or overseas.

Basic principles

  • Guarantee Western Australia’s animal and plant disease border security by adequately funding WA quarantine.
  • Levies collected for bio-security are a complex system with no coordinated or focused approach to deliver effective bio security-services.
  • Prevent the movement of pest animals and plants from unmanaged reserves and unallocated Crown land to adjoining private agricultural land.
  • The loading of livestock for export must be moved to the outer harbour at Kwinana. Livestock export from other ports such as Albany and Bunbury should be considered.
  • The road transport network must support the safe and efficient use of high productivity truck and trailer combinations via the most direct route.
  • The conditions of Pastoral Leases must be made more flexible and with ease of negotiation.
  • Continue to support the current mob based tracing system for sheep and goats that utilises the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) accredited visual ear tags, movement documents, and recording of mob based movements on the NLIS database.
  • Government needs to facilitate trade by having simple rules that avoid excessive bureaucracy (red and green tape). Agency approval times must be defined in legislation and be subject to an appeal process.
  • Government needs to support Research and Development that meets the needs of Western Australia’s overseas clients, and reduce duplication of effort.
  • GM technology brings crops that reduce herbicide use, weed burden and farm machinery fuel use. They do not pose any environmental or food safety risks.

We will fight for:

  1. The right to farm is fundamental to the agricultural industry. Encroachment by urban development and environmental interest groups should not limit the right to farm.
  2. The right for farmers to seek the highest value outcome from their farm.
  3. Re-implementation of the Rural Stock Squad
  4. A coordinated State biosecurity levy system that provides farmers and pastoralists with the choice of which pest animal or plant their contributions are spent on.
  5. Prevent the erosion of private property rights on freehold land by unregulated government policies, such as Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESAs)
  6. The right to clear regrowth from previously cleared farmland, without regulatory hindrances.
  7. The Department of Parks and Wildlife to be properly resourced and be able utilise recreational hunters to control pest animals and plants on lands it manages adjacent to private land.
  8. Recognition that Pastoral Leases are a private property right for wealth creation, and not an instrument of public policy.
  9. No additional animal welfare regulation without a market driver from consumers. Any prosecutions for breaches of the Animal Welfare are to be conducted by a DAFWA.
  10. Continued access to current and future GM crops.
  11. More funding and resources for the Western Australian agriculture industry.

PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS POLICY

What we know from long experience:

  • Investing in land is how most everyday Western Australian’s anticipate they can make an investment in their future.
  • Security of land tenure creates the formal conditions for a liquid market in house and land transactions.
  • Ease of house and land transfers increases access to credit.
  • The state government does resume and compulsorily acquire private land in Western Australia.
  • The state government does not always pay fair and just compensation.
  • Indefeasibility of title is central to all private property rights.
  • Changes in state and local government planning and zoning laws and environmental encumbrances can devalue private land.

We believe

  • Private land ownership means security and economic capital that leads to wealth creation.  Landowners must be able to buy and sell, to speculate, and, under the right of ownership, to utilise resources from the land.
  • Environmental restrictions imposed on private property for the public good neutralises private property rights.  It is worse than compulsory acquisition as it attracts no compensation, and reduces market values.

Basic principles

  • No person or entity shall enter private land without the owners’ permission.
  • Government must not interfere with private land use with the exception of nuisance or negligence.
  • Lawful possession must stand against all claims against it, except taxes and creditors.
  • Fair and just compensation must be an automatic precondition should the state government transfer private land to public ownership.
  • The State must not apply conditions to land for a public benefit, like Environmentally Sensitive areas (ESAs) without paying fair and just compensation.
  • The rights of use flow from the rights of ownership.
  • Rainfall captured in private dams shall not be subject to any water licensing regime.
  • The protection of natural values (environmental amenity) must not come at the expense of the ability of private landowners to use and utilise their property.
  • Fair and just compensations should reflect market values before any government intervention.
  • The WA Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources Act 1967 must be amended to bring access permission into line with that of the Mining Act 1978.
  • This will give farmers the same option of stopping oil and gas companies coming on their land in the same way they can now veto mining for minerals and metals.

We will fight for:

  • The importance of the private landowner receiving fair and just compensation at market value should their land be to resumed or otherwise compulsorily acquired.
  • Fair and just compensation should the State apply conditions to private land for a public benefit, subject private land to restrictions under Environmentally Sensitive Area legislation or otherwise devalue private land by its actions.
  • The right to sell private land and other rights of use associated with it, for a consideration.
  • Any imposts on land that may affect the use of the land must be registered on the certificate of title.

January 2017

BUSHFIRE POLICY

What we know from long experience:

  • Bushfires that threaten rural people and their assets have become frequent in recent years.
  • The WA climate means that every summer bushfires can start with the potential to  cause human and animal deaths, and to damage property, assets and the environment;
  • Minimising damage caused by bushfires is the responsibility of every landowner, including government departments;
  • Investment in fire prevention to reduce the intensities of bushfires is essential to give firefighters their best chance and to limit bushfire damage, and
  • The State is reliant on, and must support its volunteer firefighters.

We believe

The WA government must provide efficient and effective bushfire services. This requires strong leadership and investment that supports both fire prevention and fire suppression.

Basic principles

 Bushfires will always start, from various causes, but they need not do serious damage;

  • Fuel reduction around dwellings and townships, and across the wider landscape is the key to ensuring bushfires are easier and safer to control.
  • Prescribed burning is the only suitable and cost/effective tool for achieving fuel reduction in broad-acre bushland areas.
  • Men and women involved in fuel reduction burning and firefighting must be provided with specialised skills and training in fire behaviour, management and safety.
  • Awareness of the dangers posed by bushfires and of the need for mitigation must be lifted.

We will fight for:

  1. A Rural Fire Service (RFS) whose leadership is focused on protecting rural and near-urban Western Australia from bushfire damage, and who will support volunteer bushfire brigades and work cooperatively with DPaW and DFES;
  2. Redirection of Emergency Services Levies to the RFS and volunteer bushfire brigades;
  3. Department of Parks and Wildlife to make bushfire management its top priority, and to achieve fuel reduction burning of at least 250,000 ha in south-west forests annually;
  4. Increased support for volunteer bushfire brigades in the form of status, funding, equipment, training and payment for carrying out fuel reduction burning;
  5. Streamlined approval processes that encourage landowners and brigades to increase fuel reduction burning, especially in the near-urban areas;
  6. Pressure on Local Government Authorities to enforce the Bush Fires Act, and to become pro-active in encouraging and helping all landholders with fuel reduction and asset protection;
  7. Pressure on land-owning or land managing government agencies and Local Governments to manage fuel loads on these lands, or pay for this to be done.

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