Agriculture | January 11, 2017

Kealy - Electronic identification must be simplified

The Nationals Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy MP has called on the Andrews Labor Government to simplify the process of electronic identification of sheep and goats and for expansion of ear tag refund eligibility.

Under the new system which came into effect for livestock born after 1 January 2017, farmers now have to apply for tags online through the Department of Economic Development, Job, Transport and Resources.

“While it is important that all livestock can be traced, particularly in the event of disease outbreak such as foot and mouth, having the department deal with all tags is not the way to do it,” Ms Kealy said.

“It would be far more efficient to allow rural farm supplies stores to act as a go between in ordering and supplying tags to farmers rather than farmers having to order tags online through the department.

“I have heard directly from many local primary producers who are seeking simplification of the implementation process, the opportunity to order tags through local rural supplies store and an expansion of the refund eligibility criteria for previously purchased ear tags which are no longer usable.

“Local primary producers are also concerned about the creation of additional workload due to significantly larger numbers of sheep as compared to cattle.

“There are many farmers who do not have access to a computer or the internet and for them, this system is simply unworkable”, she said.

The Nationals as a team are pushing for a far more practical system which would allow farmers to order tags through their local rural supplies store.

“The Nationals agree with the need to implement traceability of livestock, however many producers are unhappy about the way the changes were brought in” Ms Kealy said.

“Labor must be upfront about its plan to subsidise farmers for tags, as they have only committed to this for the first 12 months of implementation.

“The Nationals will continue to push for farmers to have the option to be able to walk into their local rural supplies store and order their tags face to face,” she said.

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