Nationals WA address animal activism and climate change at conference

National pride: The Nationals WA state president Steve Blyth, Esperance electorate officer Tori Castledine and Roe MLA Peter Rundle. Photo: Supplied.
National pride: The Nationals WA state president Steve Blyth, Esperance electorate officer Tori Castledine and Roe MLA Peter Rundle. Photo: Supplied.

Establishing a stock squad to combat animal activism, addressing climate change, bringing farming into education and returning Royalties for Regions to its former glory were focuses of The Nationals WA state convention.

The conference was held in Exmouth last weekend and saw the Esperance branch play an active role.

The branch moved a successful motion to acknowledge climate change was resulting in more extreme and variable weather patterns.

The motion called on the party to create policies to assist communities and businesses to adapt to climate change, and manage any potential economic and social costs and to find ways to mitigate the effects of climate change.

The motion also called to capture any opportunities which may arise as a result of combating climate change.

Roe MLA Peter Rundle said he wanted to see Australia take advantage of the opportunities presented from companies spending money to offset their emissions.

Mr Rundle said as a farmer, he had observed winters becoming dryer and more frequent one-off rainfall events. The local representative and farmer also said the South West corner of WA was drying.

Party members also passed a motion calling on the state government to implement a rural crime strategy, with a specific body within the WA Police Force focused on rural crime.

Mr Rundle said a so-called 'Stock Squad' would be used to address incidents of trespass and theft by animal activists and other larger thefts of farm property.

This was the first motion passed at the convention.

Mr Rundle said the squad would be "over and above normal police resources".

"We've had a lot of break in to farms and were seeing farmers are quite vulnerable," he said.

"Gun cabinets, for example, are being broken into."

Mr Rundle said the delegates wanted the state to address a 95-police officer shortfall in Rural WA as well as forming the rural crime squad.

A focus of the the conference was returning Royalties for Regions to its former glory as a condition to forming government.

Mr Rundle said he was pleased that Liza Harvey said she would re-adopt the program after becoming the new Liberal leader.

"We think that with what she said when she was first appointed, that gives us a good platform to bring Royalties for Regions into its former presence," he said.

"Because it's obviously getting slashed and burnt at the moment."

The conference also saw a motion passed to call on the state to mandate agriculture as a component of primary and secondary school curriculum.

At the convention, Katanning local and biosecurity officer Steve Blyth was appointed as the party's new state president.