NSW COALITION COMMITS TO CATTLE TICK ERADICATION

NSW Coalition Commits To Cattle Tick Eradication

NSW COALITION COMMITS TO CATTLE TICK ERADICATION

3 March 2003

The Liberal/National Coalition has today pledged total commitment to the complete eradication of cattle ticks in NSW.

Speaking on the launch of the Coalition's Cattle Tick Policy, Member for Lismore, Thomas George said the Labor Government's policy on cattle ticks had been a dismal failure and turned ticks into a significant rural issue once again.

"Labor's un-coordinated and voluntary approach to tick control has pitted neighbour against neighbour and created great hardship for farming families in the north of NSW," he said.

"The Coalition has detailed a comprehensive plan for moving positively forward on tick eradication. It is based on a strong partnership between cattle producers and government, working together to resolve the issues," said Mr George.

In Government, the NSW Coalition would implement a modified version of the Strategic Plan for Cattle Tick Control in New South Wales developed in 2002 by NSW Agriculture and the Board of Tick Control (BTC).

Modifications include: Boosting the cattle tick monitoring program by developing a database of properties with cattle in the Board of Tick Control area. Properties that have not had cattle inspected at saleyards or abattoirs within a 12 months period will be subjected to a new annual inspection by NSW Agriculture staff.

Strengthening the measures to prevent the introduction of ticks from Queensland while at the same time, retaining the capacity to close the border if necessary.

Maintaining the current Cattle Tick Quarantine Area (TQA) policy, which has provided an effective buffer. Ensure that producer groups are fully consulted before any changes are made to the TQA line.

Reverting to the previous policy of only allowing the use of Tick Fever vaccines in NSW under special circumstances, following the approval of the Chief Veterinary Officer until all concerns of the beef and dairy industries have been addressed.

Reversing the Labor Government's policy of user-pays for tick control chemicals and restore the policy of NSW Agriculture providing free tickicides and managing their use. However, if an eradication program has failed due to the actions of a producer, NSW Agriculture will have the option of charging for the chemical and the department's staffing costs to manage the continued eradication program.

Ensuring NSW Agriculture retains regulatory control of dip sites and dipping programs.

Develop a comprehensive plan to decommission dips no longer required by the Cattle Tick Program.

Providing funding to assist with the maintenance of dips required by producers under the Cattle Tick Program. Other cattle tick eradication initiatives include: Reviewing the NSW Government's $6 million annual budget for tick surveillance and control programs. The Coalition believes that with improved budgetary management, the current level of funding is adequate to provide for the initiatives outlined in this policy.

Providing separate funding for the Cattle Tick Program and the surveillance activities at the Queensland border to ensure that funding allocated for tick eradication is spent on just that. This will address industry concerns that funding for border surveillance is used not only for ticks but also for other pest and diseases.

Holding a "NSW Cattle Tick Summit" to: enable government to fully explain the new Strategic Plan and policy approaches to industry;
generally improve communication between government and industry about the issues; and
develop a new cooperative environment for government and industry to work together to eradicate ticks from NSW.
strategies for a new cooperative relationship between government and industry are to be included in the Strategic Plan.
Expanding the role of the Board of Tick Control (BTC) to include the policing of regulations to protect NSW cattle producers against tick outbreaks.

Review the composition of the Board of Tick Control (BTC) and its appointment processes. Implement any changes necessary to ensure that producers in BTC area have effective Board representation.
Mr George said the cattle tick policy was part of a broad plan for Agriculture, to be released by the NSW Liberal/National Coalition tomorrow.

"Producers wanting more details of the Coalition's Agriculture Policy should contact my office on 66213624," Mr George concluded.

Lismore Contact Details:

Office: 55 Carrington Street  LISMORE
Postal: PO Box 52  LISMORE  NSW  2480
Telephone: 02 6621 3624
Facsimile: 02 6622 1403
Email: lismore@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Murwillumbah Contact Details:

Telephone: 02 6672 7577