Queensland agriculture minister John McVeigh has used a visit to the Gracemere Saleyards this morning to announce $3 million in additional support for beef producers hit by Bovine Johne’s Disease (BJD).
Mr McVeigh said while $2 million had been provided to kick-start BJD assistance, the government was now providing access of up to $5 million.
Mr McVeigh said the Newman Government had listened to calls for additional support from individual producers and industry groups.
“The extra $3 million was to be tipped into the Queensland Cattle Industry Biosecurity Fund, dollar-for-dollar, once the beef industry biosecurity levy was up and running from mid next year,” Mr McVeigh said.
“However, there were long delays in establishing the levy collection mechanism caused by the Federal Labor Government.
“Given the dire circumstances faced by many producers hit by BJD, the Newman Government is making the $3 million available immediately to bolster the assistance program.
“This extra funding means there’s now scope for more assistance for producers.
“I’ve directed the Interim Industry Advisory Committee to review the program's coverage and the current cap of $50,000.”
Mr McVeigh said any funds from the $5 million now available for BJD assistance that remained unspent at 30 June 2014, would be redirected to the Queensland Cattle Industry Biosecurity Fund as a loan from the government.
“Once up and running, the industry levy will underwrite the Biosecurity Fund,” said Mr McVeigh
“This will create a legacy to support our beef industry through any future disease incidents.”
Welcome move: AgForce
AgForce chief executive officer, Charles Burke, said the contribution indicated the Government had listened to AgForce on the need for adequate and timely resources to alleviate the strain placed on impacted beef producers.
“There is no doubt BJD has financially hurt those beef producers whose businesses have been implicated by the disease,” Mr Burke, also in Rockhampton this morning, said.
“The Government has recognised that tipping in this $3 million dollar-for-dollar once a biosecurity levy was established, as originally planned, was not appropriate given the time it is taking for this levy regime to be developed.
“Today’s release of this money will help to ease the burden on cattle industry.”
Mr Burke said the decision to strive towards maintaining Queensland’s BJD ‘protected zone’ status, a strategy now broadly accepted by industry, and the expedited support of Government further demonstrated the importance of the state maintaining its clean product status.
“Internationally, there are 134 technical trade barriers related to BJD in 43 markets for feeder, breeder and genetic exports,” he said.
“In a competitive global market we simply cannot afford to open ourselves up to these market obstructions.
“AgForce acknowledges the value of today’s announcement in helping to keep our markets safe and is hopeful it is a clear indication of Government’s ongoing commitment to providing resources to biosecurity.”
For more information on BJD visit www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23.
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