Vic tag move unnecessary and costly: Barnaby

Sheep Central, August 24, 2016
Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce

Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce weighed into the sheep tag debate this morning, branding Victoria’s move to require electronic ID from next year as an “unnecessary cost burden” for farmers.

All sheep and goats in Victoria will require individual electronic ID tags under a new sheep tag tax being imposed by the Victorian Government.

Mr Joyce said the Victorian Government informed the Commonwealth last night of this decision, and said he respected its legislative right to introduce the new requirement.

However, he said it was not needed and would only increase costs for farmers.

“Currently, sheep ID works on a mob-based identification system given that the proportion of the cost of the tag to the animal is vastly higher in sheep compared to cattle,” Mr Joyce said.

“Imposing a sheep tag tax on farmers is an unnecessary cost burden given the strength of the existing NLIS system which all states enforce and which continues to provide effective traceability.

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“Even with a one-year subsidy from the Victorian Government, this will bring an excessive form of regulation to Victorian farmers, giving a distinct advantage in operating costs to other states in the sheep industry.

“We have a strong national NLIS system and Victoria has not been able to gain the support of other states to introduce mandatory electronic ID for individual sheep.

“Increasingly, Australia has a national sheep market with sheep traded up and down the east coast.”

National industry groups the Sheepmeat Council of Australia, WoolProducers and the Goat Industry Council of Australia have also spoken out today against the Victorian Government’s move – see separate story here

The Victorian Government has advised that electronic tagging exemptions will apply to sheep and goats born after 1 January 2017, on a property outside of Victoria and subsequently transported to Victoria.


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  1. Sean Harvey, August 24, 2016

    If it was a Liberal state government doing this, I am sure Barnaby wouldn’t be coming out so hard against it. Let’s move with the times and use this as an opportunity to embrace some technological change.
    It’s a pity our federal minister and our national representative bodies of Sheepmeat Council and Woolproducers don’t see the bigger picture and just want to play the mud-throwing political game. The real value gain would be to go nationally, not only for the perception of our product, but probably more importantly it provides us, the producers, a link to the quality of our product. We need to then work out a mechanism of how we get paid for it. This can then speed up genetic gain and ensure our industry is focussed on eating quality and saleable meat yield. Lamb and sheep meat is not a commodity, it’s a premium protein source. It is a pity our national lobby groups don’t get that.

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