Letters to the Editor

Letter – 360 series should include BJD policy debate

Wallace Gunthorpe, July 28, 2014

I would like to inform Queensland cattle producers that we had a representative approach AgForce prior to their Roma series 360 forum to include BJD as a topic for discussion to debate the pros and cons of the Protected Zone.We offered to provide speakers with a vast knowledge of BJD and it’s impact on producers.This was declined.

I would have thought that series 360 means the full circle of topics affecting our industry.

BJD quarantine has affected more than 200 Queensland families in the beef business and would have been a worthy topic for discussion.

AgForce argues that their members are happy with the Protected Zone policy,I would argue that the average AgForce member does not have a proper understanding of the complex issues surrounding BJD.
I continually ask people in my travels about BJD and most do not know much about how it is transmitted,what quarantine involves or how the testing is carried out and they have little knowledge of compensation to those affected.

The saturated spin in comments from Minister McVeigh’s would have you think that all is well on the BJD front!

There are nearly twice as many properties quarantined than Minister McVeigh claimed and nearly 200 properties are waiting for Minister McVeigh’s promise on January 18,  2013, that “The Newman Government does not expect individual producers to bear the cost of eradication programs that ultimately benefit all in the cattle industry” to be honoured.

As well it would be unreasonable for the Queensland cattle industry to expect these people to bear the cost on their behalf.Remember that the 19,000 Queensland beef producers can join this group of 200 through no fault of their own at any time.

After pressure from various groups the Queensland Government has made $5M available to compensate BJD affected producers and then they have done everything they can to limit payments by introducing restrictions on eligibility and caps on payments. Some of these properties are experiencing their second dry year since they were quarantined and the government has a clear obligation to resolve this compensation issue.

People need to know that after slaughtering hundreds of healthy animals across WA, NT, NSW and QLD and doing tens of thousands of tests there has been no spread of BJD from a trace forward Rockley animal to any herd.
Rockley has been able to trade for 25 years with no production losses with BJD present in their herd,they actually grew their business.

The Kirk family have paid a huge price for the detection of BJD in their herd and I am disappointed at the lack of support for them from industry leaders.

My family have been in the cattle business for generations and we are here for the long haul and will always fight for fair treatment for all in our industry but the politicians need to remember that they may be a rooster one day and a feather duster the next ! Remember the recent Stafford by election.

Wallace Gunthorpe
BJD Action Coalition
BJD Industry Advisory Committee

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Comments

  1. Rob Moore, July 28, 2014

    Wallace,
    I have not been affected yet by this drama in SW Qld but I sympathise with you. I can verify that it is pointless wandering in to this shopfront that has it’s HQ in Mary St the city. J McV is the classic “talking head” and I am yet to be convinced that there is anything underneath…….I have asked them three times now to support my Primary Production Pricing Bill- but hey- I’m better off without them, and you will be too!
    Regards,
    Rob

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