Nationals call to make electronic identification easier
22 December 2016
The Victorian Nationals are calling on the Andrews Labor Government to simplify the process of electronic identification of sheep and goats.
Under the new system which comes into effect for livestock born after January 1, 2017 farmers will have to apply for tags online through the Department of Economic Development, Job, Transport and Resources.
The Nationals are pushing for a far more practical system which would allow farmers to order tags through their local rural supplies store.
Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh and Deputy Leader of The Nationals and Member for Euroa Steph Ryan were in Benalla last week to meet with Peter Davis Rural Supplies owner Peter Davis to discuss the issue.
Mr Walsh said The Nationals agreed with the need to implement traceability of livestock, however many producers were unhappy about the way the changes were being brought in.
“Under this system farmers will be required to order all tags online through the department,” Mr Walsh said.
“While it is important that all livestock can be traced, particularly in the event of disease outbreak such as foot and mouth disease, having the department deal with all tags is not the way to do it.
“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.
“There are many farmers who do not have access to a computer or the internet and for them, this system is simply unworkable.”
Mr Davis said while cattle tags are currently ordered online, it was a completely different scenario for sheep, particularly due to the volume of livestock.
“There is nothing wrong with the idea, everything needs to be identified but I don’t think the department realises how much extra work it’s going to be,” Mr Davis said.
“I can’t see why we can’t just order the tag from the tag company on behalf of the department, and supply the tag direct to farmers ourselves.”
Ms Ryan said the government could implement such a change without jeopardizing the desired outcome of traceability of all sheep and goats.
“This is about making things as simple as possible for the farmers who have to deal with the changes being brought in by the government,” Ms Ryan said.
“We will be pushing for farmers to have the option to be able to walk into their local rural supplies store and order their tags face to face.”
Ms Ryan said the government would also need to be upfront about its plan to subsidise farmers for the tags after the first year of implementation as it had only committed to the first 12 months.