Meat & Livestock Australia this afternoon issued a statement in response to allegations made over the weekend by the Australian Beef Association that financial institutions could be given automatic access to producers' NLIS accounts to allow them to monitor livestock transactions.
Beef Central's earlier report on ABA's claims, and the response offered by NLIS Ltd chairman John Wyld, can be viewed here.
Here is MLA's statement:
There have been a number of reports circulating regarding National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) provision of NLIS account data to third parties. NLIS Limited adheres strictly to privacy laws, and no NLIS data has been or would be provided to a third party without the producer’s consent.
NLIS has been piloting the functionality of restricted third party access to NLIS accounts with a small number of financial institutions and producers since 2008. All producers in the pilot have granted permission for the financial institution to receive information about their livestock when they leave the property for sale or slaughter. This aims to provide a benefit to producers through more favourable financing options when seeking a mortgage against their livestock.
The key driver for investigating this option is for NLIS to be of greater use and value as a tool for producers. If it was considered to be of benefit to the industry, only individuals who choose to participate would allow access to their NLIS account.
The function for third party access to NLIS accounts is not a new initiative. It has been possible since the inception of NLIS, as third parties including stock agents, property managers, and accountants have been granted permission by producers to access their accounts.
NLIS Ltd has received no revenue for this functionality during the pilot. Options for cost recovery are being explored (for example, recouping the cost of providing this service from those who choose to participate) which will be considered along with the outcomes of the review.
Decisions regarding NLIS Ltd are made by the NLIS cattle advisory committee, which is made up of producer representative bodies, government and NLIS management.