April 2010

The Richmond Valley Independent

April 2010

Border tick cams

NSW livestock continue to be put at risk by the mismanagement of the NSW Government.

Iíve been saying for two years that human inspectors are still needed to patrol the quarantine stations on the NSW/QLD border for cattle ticks.

Ticks are an external parasite which can transmit tick fever, which can cause death in some cattle. The ticks can be found on cattle, horses and other grazing livestock.

Iím glad to see a stockownerís been fined $550 last week moving three head from south-east Queensland in a horse float. Itís about time the electronic surveillance system tracked the illegal movement.

But they donít compare to having human inspectors on the ground. The camera takes front and rear photoís of vehicles large enough to carry livestock, but it takes weeks for the vehicle and itís livestock to be checked. Itís too late once the animals have reached their destination to avoid the ticks from spreading.

Livestock producers have repeatedly told me about other cases of infected livestock have successfully crossed the border without detection.

This shows that the current system is not effective. But the true extend of how ineffective it is, is not being made public. Iím calling on the NSW Government to release information about exactly how many properties in Northern NSW are currently under quarantine.

I will be meeting with local producers early this month in the Tweed & Richmond areas to seek comments to assist The Nationals in the finalisation of our policy.

Beef Imports

It was unfortunate that I wasnít able to personally attend the meeting in Armidale last week with representatives from the beef industry lobbying against the Federal Governmentís plan to relax importation rules from BSE affected countries.

However, I was pleased to hear over 1,200 beef producers voted in support of the National Liberal Coalitionís efforts to stop the Rudd Governmentís relaxation of Australiaís strict quarantine rules.

Beef producers are clearly not happy that the industry is under threat from beef being imported from countries without proper trace back and trace forward identification schemes. It could bring our local beef industry to itís knees if mad cow was the break out in Australia.

Iíve heard reports that despite their best efforts to answer questions, the Cattle Council of Australia and Meat and Livestock Australia were left with no doubt theyíve lost touch with the industry.

Producers have raised concerns with me, wondering what value theyíre getting for the levies they pay. The Commonwealth Government blaming the relaxation of Australiaís strict quarantine measures on tough season and the high Australian dollar is not good enough.

I urge the community to support the Australian beef industry and ensure all meat bought is Australian produced.

Native Vegetation Laws

Itís been a number of months since Southern NSW grazier Peter Spencer ended his 52 day hunger strike. Many people around the country stood up in support of the farmer whoís spent a decade fighting for farmers freedom to clear or develop their properties upon which their livelihoods depend on.

I want to ensure this issue continues to be at the forefront of our community. Mr Spencerís point he made remains valid. We canít expect farmers to have to continue to wear the total cost of the Federal Governmentís $100 billion worth of carbon emission reductions to be included in Australiaís international greenhouse commitments promised at Kyoto and Copenhagen.

I was pleased to attend the rally at Parliament House, Sydney where over a 1000 farmers and supporters provided the Labor Government a loud and clear message of their disgust with the native vegetation laws of this State.

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