Australia has some weird and wacky laws but Western Australia's Potato Law takes the cake. Basically. the law states that it's illegal to possess 50 kg's (110 lb) of potatoes in Western Australia.
The Potato Marketing Corporation (PMC), an organization responsible for managing the supply of fresh table potatoes in Western Australia, is was responsible for an archaic law that was mandated in the 1940's, which gave the PMC authority to stop and search any vehicle suspected of carrying more than 50 kilograms of spuds.
The Potato Marketing Corporation apparently got itself its own law to allow any vehicle to be stopped and searched if they were suspected of carrying over 50kg of potatoes.
Section 22 of the Marketing of Potatoes Act 1946 prohibits anyone from selling, delivering, purchasing, or taking delivery of 50kgs (or what appears to be 50kg) or more of potatoes unless you are a member of the Potato Corporation or an authorised agent.
The PMC also has the authority to determine...
- Who can grow potatoes.
- How many hectares of potatoes can be planted.
- What varieties of potato are produced.
In addition the PMC has the power to stop and search any vehicle suspected of carrying more than 50kg of potatoes, and its inspectors can impound any unlawful potatoes found.
The penalty for breaking this law is a fine of up to $2,000 for a first offence or $5,000 for a subsequent offence in addition to an amount up to twice the value of the potatoes.
Slater and Gordon criminal lawyer Veronika Drago said that although these laws seem funny now, they were enacted with good reason. Ms Drago said...
“To understand why we have these laws, you really have to think back to the time when they were first introduced, enacted,”“For example, the potatoes law in Western Australia was introduced in 1946, when post-war food security and the Great Depression were pressing political issues.
However, Ms Drago warned, these anomalies still have legal force.
So be warned : if you are transporting a sack of potatoes in your car in WA - make sure a they are approved by a government bureaucrat.
Western Australia's Government comes to its senses: The PMC will be disbanded
Potato farmers & buyers rejoice!! In 2016 Western Australia's Parliament cleared the way for full deregulation of the state's potato industry, passing legislation to abolish the controversial Potato Marketing Corporation.
The move wbrought to an end seven decades of regulation under which the PMC controls who can grow potatoes, what sort and how many they can grow, and at what price they are sold.
Parliament's Legislative Council passed the Government's potato deregulation legislation, and it was not opposed by any party.