Queensland minister for agriculture John McVeigh has announced that two new assistance payments for eligible producers impacted by bovine Johne's disease (BJD) will be introduced, following a meeting with key industry representatives in Brisbane.
"I brought together the two industry committees that have been working on the BJD response, one focused on the technical side, the other on the assistance package," Mr McVeigh said in a statement released to media late on Thursday afternoon.
"Industry reconfirmed in the meeting that it is committed to the program.
"In terms of assistance, I reiterated that I support the industry committee's recommendation to double the current $50,000 cap so that eligible producers can access up to $100,000. The raising of this cap requires a regulatory amendment, which I hope can be finalised very soon.
"I will also be introducing two new payments that were recommended by the industry committee late last year. These are $3,000 for eligible producers quarantined for more than four weeks, with an additional $5,000 for eligible producers released from quarantine by June 30, 2014.
"While it's important that assistance be maximised, it's essential that existing funds can continue to support those producers eligible for assistance under the regulations, for the life of the scheme.
"As well, I have instructed the Queensland Cattle Industry Biosecurity Fund Implementation Committee to look at what further options are available for the financial assistance program in terms of a potential extension of timelines and flexibility to further assist producers."
Mr McVeigh also released the economic scenario analysis report into the BJD response which assesses the risks, costs and benefits associated with different BJD management options. (Click here to view the full report on the QDAFF website)
"This report will provide another source of information to help industry assess the value of Queensland's protected zone status," he said.
"It outlines various costs associated with BJD, including potential impacts on market access both domestic and export.
"I remain dedicated to working with the cattle industry to eradicate BJD from affected properties and help protect the wider industry from additional financial burdens."
Mr McVeigh said the compensation scheme for cattle producers affected by Johne's disease in Queensland was now the most generous in Australia.
Source: Qld Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. For more information or to download the economic report visit www.daff.qld.gov.au