The Queensland Government has announced details of a financial support package to assist cattle producers impacted by the ongoing Bovine Johne’s Disease response package in the state.
The central planks of the package are:
- Assistance payments capped at $50,000 in the first year. Further assistance up to $200,000 is proposed to be funded by the industry levy;
A Direct Market Assistance Program, under which producers may be able to claim up to 50 pc of the value of trace forward cattle that have been slaughtered for testing as part of their property disease investigation plan;
Properties that are confirmed as infected will be able to claim up to 50pc of the value of cattle that they slaughter when destocking under a property disease eradication plan;
- A Supply Chain Pathway Assistance Program, which will provide assistance for those producers who are faced with long-term movement restrictions. Producers may be able to claim 50pc of the additional costs of finding markets for their cattle while they are under movement restrictions;
- Assistance will be available from May 31.
Agriculture minister John McVeigh said the Queensland Government said it is also considering setting a voluntary levy rate on cattle transactions in Queensland of between 50c and 70c per head, but is looking for industry feedback on how much producers are prepared to pay and how it should operate.
Producers who do not want to participate will be able to receive a refund, but will not be able to claim benefits from the fund in the event that they are impacted by a disease in the future.
AgForce welcomes package
AgForce Cattle President, Howard Smith, said access to the fund would provide welcome support to producers affected by quarantine restrictions and in the longer term offered a framework for financial response to disease outbreaks.
“The BJD assistance package will help reduce the impacts on producers who have been quarantined and also contribute to costs associated with moving stock,” Mr Smith said. “We look forward to further detail of who is eligible and how they can seek assistance when it becomes available at the end of the month.”
Mr Smith said AgForce encouraged cattle producers to provide feedback to Government as it seeks to determine how a voluntary industry levy will be implemented to maintain the Cattle Biosecurity Fund into the future.
“AgForce will provide its feedback on the consultation paper released today by Minister McVeigh and encourages all stakeholders to do so given this levy will need industry support to be successful,” he said.
“BJD has, and will continue to be, a priority for AgForce and we will continue to work on the issues which have emerged as a result of the outbreak.
“We are currently in the process of recruiting a Livestock Consultant, with assistance from funding from DAFFQ, to help coordinate BJD-related stock movements.
“The beef sector is of critical importance to the state and we will continue to advocate for the best outcomes for all of industry.”
This is the full Queensland Government press release detailing the package issued on Friday:
Relief for cattle producers impacted by the recent Bovine Johne's Disease (BJD) cases is on its way with cattle farmers able to apply for financial support from 31 May 2013.
The industry is also being asked for feedback on a voluntary levy to support the Queensland Cattle Industry Biosecurity Fund into the future.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Dr John McVeigh said under the Queensland Cattle Industry Biosecurity Fund, $2 million in seed funding was being made available to support producers whose properties had been affected by BJD.
"As promised, the Newman Government has delivered on its commitment to support BJD affected producers with financial assistance to get them back on track," Mr McVeigh said.
"The BJD assistance program consists of two components under which producers may be able to apply for funding – a Direct Market Assistance Program and a Supply Chain Pathway Assistance Program.
"A full range of details, including application forms and eligibility criteria will be available from 31 May on the QRAA website at www.qraa.qld.gov.au<http://www.qraa.qld.gov.au>.
"The payments will be capped and the amount that producers are eligible for will depend on their individual circumstance.
"The payments are designed to provide a sustainable level of financial assistance, but it is not full compensation for losses."
Mr McVeigh said that in addition to the $2 million in seed feeding, the Newman Government would also provide a $3 million loan to further support the Fund.
"This loan is dependent on an industry levy being in place to ensure the long-term viability of the Fund. As such, we have today released a consultation paper to seek feedback about how the voluntary industry levy should operate," Mr McVeigh said.
"I want to hear from those involved in the state's cattle industry about how they want to approach the management and administration of this voluntary levy.
"Members of the cattle industry are encouraged to have their say by providing feedback on the consultation by 7 June 2013 on the Get Involved website, www.getinvolved.qld.gov.au<http://www.getinvolved.qld.gov.au>.
"The levy rate is proposed to be between $0.50 – $0.70 cents per head and will be collected on all cattle transactions in Queensland, starting mid-2014.
"This is a great opportunity for industry to get behind a funding scheme that will provide long-term benefits and support during biosecurity incidents that affect the entire cattle supply chain.
"Producers who don't want to participate will be able to receive a refund, but will not be able to claim benefits from the Fund in the event that they are impacted by a disease in the future."
Mr McVeigh said producer input would be valuable in helping the Interim Industry Advisory Committee and the Government make final decisions about the Fund and its administration.
For more information on BJD visit www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au<http://www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au/> or call 13 25 23.
Follow Biosecurity Queensland on Facebook and Twitter (@BiosecurityQld).
Details of assistance payments
Payments will be capped at $50,000 in the first year. Further assistance up to $200,000 is proposed to be funded by the industry levy.
Direct Market Assistance Program
Producers may be able to claim up to 50 per cent of the value of trace forward cattle that have been slaughtered for testing as part of their property disease investigation plan.
Properties that are confirmed as infected will be able to claim up to 50 per cent of the value of cattle that they slaughter when destocking under a property disease eradication plan.
The Supply Chain Pathway Assistance Program
Provides ongoing assistance for those producers who are faced with long-term movement restrictions.
May allow producers to claim 50 per cent of the additional costs of finding markets for their cattle while they are under movement restrictions.
More industry reaction to package on Beef Central tomorrow