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WoolProducers withdraw support for the mandatory roll-out of electronic tags for sheep

After 19 months of advocating in the interests of Australian woolgrowers regarding the government-imposed decision to roll out mandatory electronic identification (EID) for sheep, WoolProducers are withdrawing their support for this process.

WoolProducers Australia CEO, Ms Jo Hall said, “While understanding the importance of traceability in the broader context of biosecurity, WoolProducers have decided to withdraw our support for mandatory EIDs for sheep given ongoing concerns with how this process is unfolding.”

“WoolProducers support for this initiative was based on a number of contingencies to ensure that the system and shared responsibilities were fair and equitable for woolgrowers and that the required biosecurity outcomes were met, this is currently not the case.”

The WoolProducers board have resolved the following:

In the interests of woolgrowers and national biosecurity outcomes, along with the importance of the three caveats that WoolProducers hold in relation to our policy support of the mandatory roll out of electronic identification for sheep, which are:

  • The establishment of a nationally harmonised traceability system that operates according to nationally consistent business rules,

  • Investment into a database capable of handling all farmed FMD susceptible livestock species,

  • The creation of an equitable funding arrangement for both the establishment and ongoing maintenance of an enhanced system.

WoolProducers withdraws our support of the continued roll-out, as currently two of these caveats are not being met resulting in no net gain in biosecurity outcomes at a national level. If WoolProducers are satisfied that these caveats are addressed, we will recommit to supporting the national roll-out.

WoolProducers do not believe that adequate government funding from both the Commonwealth and state governments has been committed.

“The costings for the roll-out of this system has been independently estimated to be $830 million over ten years. While the funding commitment that has been received to date from state and federal governments is welcomed, it is still a long way short of the required financial assistance.” Ms Hall said.

Further WoolProducers are concerned about the lack of commitment from some stakeholders in achieving a national system through harmonisation.

“Australia trades as a nation, and as such we must have a nationally consistent traceability system that delivers harmonised biosecurity outcomes across all states and territories. There is no point placing an increased financial burden on woolgrowers if there is not enhanced biosecurity outcomes by continuing to have a piecemeal approach to sheep traceability.” Ms Hall said.


WoolProducers Australia contacts:

Jo Hall, CEO

0488 554 811

Steve Harrison, President

0427 468 303

About WoolProducers’ Australia

WoolProducers plays a critical role in working closely with companies and entities funded by woolgrower funds including compulsory levies or fees for service.

Its mission is to develop constructive and profitable outcomes for woolgrowers nationally.

The agency is responsible for appointing a director to each of the Australian Wool Exchange and the Australia Wool

Testing Authority, promoting good corporate governance and ensuring that the interests of growers are met.

WoolProducers maintains a working relationship with Australian Wool Innovation as the voice of woolgrower shareholders. It aims to contribute to AWI’s programs for the benefit of growers, promoting responsible use of levy funds and ensuring good corporate governance.

WoolProducers is the sole wool industry member of Animal Health Australia, and as such, carries a significant responsibility for decision making on behalf of the industry in the event of an emergency animal disease outbreak.

As the only wool grower organisation with membership of the National Farmers’ Federation, WoolProducers is responsible for providing key policy advice on behalf of our members, and other wool growers, to Australia’s peak farm body.

WoolProducers also works closely with the Federal Government Departments on key issues such as animal health and welfare, biosecurity, pest management control, natural resource management, drought preparedness, emergency animal disease outbreak preparedness and industry development, including research, trade and logistics.

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