Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Peter Walsh
Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford has refused to explain why she has isolated Victorian sheep farmers from the rest of the industry by introducing mandatory electronic identification (eID).
The refusal came when The Nationals asked Ms Pulford in Parliament yesterday why she had back-flipped on the Government’s pre-election promise not to introduce eID unless it was part of a national scheme.
As announced by the Andrews Government last week, all sheep and goats born in Victoria from January 1, 2017 will be required to be electronically tagged. Labor committed to making the implementation ‘cost neutral’ for the first year only.
“Just two years later the Andrews Labor Government has announced a move unique to Victoria, with barely one month of consultation with stakeholders and less than four months for farmers to prepare,” Shadow Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh said.
“It came as a surprise not only to farmers, but also to the minister’s interstate ministerial counterparts.
“Jaala Pulford’s announcement on mandatory eID for livestock is another broken promise from the Andrews Labor Government.”
Mr Walsh said the decision raises concerns of the minister’s lack of understanding of the sheep trade between New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria.
“That confusion and cost will now be forced onto the industry,” Mr Walsh said.
“There needs to be improvements in traceability, but it should be done as part of a co-ordinated program – the industry can’t afford to end up with different systems in different states.”
The Government has committed to a subsidised cost for the first year of the program only.
“There must be robust government support for this program for the full implementation – not just the first year,” Mr Walsh said.
“We are concerned although there is going to be industry consultation, there is a distinct lack of detail around how it will be implemented considering that will happen on January 1, 2017.”
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