Published: 18 August 2015

[5.58 p.m.]

Ms  FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I want to make a brief contribution and pose a question to the Government.  A constituent of mine over the last two to three months has had a total of over 100 head of sheep shot on nine separate occasions.  These sheep have been shot by a person or persons who are very capable shooters as the sheep have almost all, if not all, been shot through the neck and left in the paddock to die.  These shootings have occurred on my constituent's farm where he and his wife and four children live.  This is a very distressing time for him and the family and to this time the farmer has chosen not to inform the younger children so as to try to avoid undue stress.


The family has recently moved to another nearby location in an attempt to reduce the personal risk to the family.  These events have had a huge personal and financial cost to the family not just in the loss of stock but also in having to buy feed to try to keep the remaining sheep closer to the home to avoid further shootings.  That has not been possible and the financial cost has continued to rise.  Even this action has not stopped the shootings.


After the seventh shooting an issue was raised by the police with my constituent about underresourcing of police in the region to fully investigate these incidents and apprehend the offender or offenders.  At that time, which was Friday last week, I contacted the Minister for Police and Emergency Management, Mr Hidding, who responded promptly and acted appropriately.  Since then, two further shootings have occurred and it has become apparent that police in this region have limited access to the necessary equipment to investigate this matter.  For example, a metal detector that could detect lead was borrowed from one of the officer's family members.  Cameras available were inadequate for the task and when the bomb squad attended today, after the last shooting last night, they were unable to detect bullets in the carcasses or any sign of explosives.  They would possibly need to use a handheld explosive or metal detector as you might see used in an airport.


I am no expert in this field so I am not sure exactly what is needed but it appears to me these resources would be available from larger police services and perhaps the Federal Police.  I am not aware what resources are needed but it is apparent that the fox eradication program, for example, has a lot of cameras that are good infra-red cameras and they could potentially provide cameras or other suitable equipment to assist in the investigation of this matter.


My constituent was informed today that the cooperation between departments is limited and perhaps not possible.  That is a nonsense.  This is a terrible time for my constituent and the whole family and they are rightly concerned about their safety and welfare, not just for the sheep but for themselves personally.


Will the Government, through the Minister for Police and Emergency Management, instruct the relevant departments to work together to investigate this crime and ensure adequate resources are made available from whichever department holds them to work with the police to solve this as a matter of urgency so this family can get back to living on their farm and hopefully lose no more stock?  It is a terrible situation and I hope the Government can take some action.



The Council adjourned at 6.02 p.m.

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