LABOR ON THE BACK FOOT IN DELIVERING SUBSIDISED NLIS TAGS

LABOR ON THE BACK FOOT IN DELIVERING SUBSIDISED NLIS TAGS

LABOR ON THE BACK FOOT IN DELIVERING SUBSIDISED NLIS TAGS

23 February 2005

Long standing pressure by The NSW Nationals and industry has paid dividends with the NSW Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald finally delivering on his promise to make three million NLIS devices available to cattle producers at a reduced rate of $2.60, Member for Lismore Thomas George said today.

"While the NSW Nationals welcome this long-awaited announcement, it is unacceptable that the Minister has moved at a snail's pace in providing affordable NLIS technology to industry," Mr George said.

"My office and those of my colleagues have been inundated with phone calls from angry cattle producers who bought their NLIS ear tags for approximately $4 when the system was first introduced on 1 July 2004.

"Cattle producers who did the right thing and got organised when NLIS was first implemented have been penalised by Minister Macdonald's inaction and inefficiency in getting the subsidy for ear tags off the ground.

"The NSW and Victorian Governments first signed off on an agreement to bulk-order NLIS devices in October 2004. It's taken over five months for Labor to actually deliver on the promise.

"This is simply not good enough.

"Cattle producers should have been able to access the subsidised ear-tags from 1 July 2004. This is just one example of an issue that should have been ironed out before the system started."

Mr George said those producers who had bought unsubisied NLIS tags should be compensated by the NSW Labor Government.

"The NSW Labor Government's inefficency and inaction has resulted in huge financial losses for cattle producers through absolutely no fault of their own," he said.

"I call on Minister Macdonald to immediatley provide a reimbursement of up to $1.40 (the difference between the subsided and unsubsided NLIS tags) to all cattle producers who have already purchased NLIS tags."

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