VICTORIAN producers still don’t know if the Andrews Labor Government will subsidise electronic identification tags for sheep and goats in 2018, says Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh.
In Parliament yesterday, Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford refused to confirm if the Andrews Government would subsidise tags in 2018.
Ms Pulford’s admission confirms the process is severely delayed, months behind the Minister’s initial promise to announce a tag price “in the first half” of 2017.
Mr Walsh urged Victorian sheep and goat producers to hold off buying tags for next year until the Andrews Government was able to confirm a price.
“Farmers have completed their budgets for next year but they’ve got no idea how much the Andrews Labor Government will charge them to comply with its eID scheme in 2018,” Mr Walsh said.
“There’s a huge discrepancy in cost – a subsidised rate of 37 cents or the full rate of 74 cents.
“Producers should hold off buying tags until the Andrews Government provides them with certainty.”
Under Labor’s plan, information should have started being uploaded to the National Livestock Identification Scheme (NLIS) from 1 July 2017.
But in practice, none of the information is being uploaded to the NLIS because the software doesn’t exist to do it.
“Industry is on board with the implementation of EID but saleyard operators and agents are concerned that things are moving too slowly, the money is drying up too quickly and deadlines to begin scanning are approaching too quickly,” Mr Walsh said.
“It’s time the Minister seriously considered the appropriateness of some of her deadlines.
“We know there are issues with software compatibility, scanning at saleyards and possible cost blowouts when Labor’s meek $2.8 million fund for saleyards dries up.
“The Andrews Government thought industry could just apply the systems used for cattle to sheep and goats. It’s now apparent that just won’t work.”
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