Saturday, 20 June 2015 12:20

Farming in denial – O’Connor

Written by 
Damien O’Connor. Damien O’Connor.

Labour's Primary Industries spokesman Damien O’Connor claims there’s been a lot of misunderstanding about what is or is not in the Health and Safety Reform Bill and says that’s no one’s fault.

O’Connor is not a member of the transport and industrial select committee which is dealing with the bill, but he’s well aware of the issues and the feeling in rural communities. He’s been approached by farmers upset at some of the provisions in the bill as it stands.

“Farmers are certainly concerned without knowing the actual details, so there has been a lot of hype around this,” O’Connor told Rural News

“The question of not being able to  put another person on a quad has been the centre of debate and there will no doubt be many other things regarding processes – such as dealing with visitors to farms – that are of concern.” 

O’Connor says when issues like this are debated, often extreme positions are taken and he hopes what the select committee arrives at, and the government delivers, is workable for farmers and also reduces the accident rate on farms. 

He says he’d like to see lead agencies such as Federated Farmers working harder to get the truth out about the legislation, rather than getting involved in political spin to reverse some of the changes. 

O’Connor says while the forestry industry is entirely focused on health and safety, he believes the farming industry is still in denial in some areas and is trying to come to terms with regulations that might be difficult to implement

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