House debates

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Constituency Statements

Serana (WA) Pty Ltd

9:30 am

Photo of Alannah MactiernanAlannah Mactiernan (Perth, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

More than 18 months ago I raised the case of the innovative biotech company, Serana Pty Ltd, which was being hounded out of business by the highly dubious actions of the federal department of agriculture, causing the loss of 20 existing jobs and a great many more jobs in the planned expansion of this company. This so-called investigation for competition breaches was instigated by a competitor company and has now been running for over 2½ years with no end in sight. The alleged case was sent to the Commonwealth DPP over a year ago, and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is claiming that they have received no response from the Commonwealth DPP in over a year. Then, in a bizarre twist last month, the company, Serana, having re-established itself in Germany, ordered supplies from a Melbourne company, GBP Australia, which all of a sudden found itself the subject of a raid from the department, looking for, again, the potential breaches by this company more than two years ago.

We have to remember the context of this. All of the samples that were taken from Serana have been proved beyond doubt to be legitimate, legal product. The complaint was instigated by a multinational competitor, PAA, as part of the GE group, after they were unable to come to a commercial arrangement about Serana supplying them with product.

I am deeply disturbed that in this country we can see such behaviour tolerated. The minister responsible, the Deputy Prime Minister, made his career rampaging around this country telling us about the deadly hand of bureaucracy, telling us that bureaucracy has gone mad. We all know that there is a very real case that the Deputy Prime Minister himself may have gone mad but that does not absolve his responsibility for taking this investigation in hand. Over $1 million of taxpayers' money has been spent. This company has been shut down. This madness must end.