Australia’s livestock traceability system will get a technological boost to meet growing consumer demand, while improving the nation’s biosecurity, food safety, and market access.
The Federal Government has awarded a $22.5 million grant to the livestock industry’s Integrity Systems Company to enhance the National Livestock Identification System database and its supporting systems.
The funding, announced in the October Budget, will help to modernise Australia’s data capture, storage, and distribution system for tracking livestock and their movements, helping industry and producers adapt to changing consumer and market needs into the future.
The database will deliver significant system-wide traceability benefits for all animal species captured by the NLIS and allow for future additions to the system.
The grant will also support the delivery of a platform that can accommodate additional data inputs from other systems, which will assist in demonstrating Australia’s agricultural credentials and compliance with international market access requirements, including sustainability and animal welfare.
Agriculture minister Murray Watt said the NLIS Uplift Grant was part of the Government’s $46.7 million commitment to work with industry and state and territory governments to improve national livestock traceability arrangements over the next three years.
“Traceability plays a key role in protecting and growing Australian agriculture, and we need the right tools in place to see it thrive,” Minister Watt said.
“The NLIS is key to maintaining world-class livestock traceability, because the faster and more accurately animals are traced, the quicker we can respond and recover from any emergency animal disease outbreak.
“There are also trade benefits with increasing demand for proof of origin and sustainability for Australian livestock and meat products, so this will help to maintain and develop market access overseas.
“This uplift will also make the NLIS easier to use for farmers and producers.
“It will streamline reporting processes, linking to the electronic national vendor declaration system (eNVD), and farmers will be able to see the information they have entered into the system and where their stock have moved.
“Australia has world-leading livestock traceability systems, and enhancements like these will ensure they continue to meet our needs into the future.”
The grant is expected to run until June 30, 2026.
Integrity Systems Co acting chief executive Jo Quigley said the grant was a significant opportunity for ISC and the red meat industry.
“This Australian Government grant to build a new national livestock traceability database is an extraordinary opportunity for ISC and will transform our integrity programs over the next two to three years so they are ready for the future,” Ms Quigley said.
“The grant will ensure Australia has a fit-for-purpose data capture, storage and distribution system which will offer flexibility and scalability to track all future livestock movements. The new platform will provide a more user-friendly interface and will be able to adapt to changing needs over the next 20 years.
“We look forward to getting started on building the new database which will strengthen livestock biosecurity, food safety and market access.”
The first stage of the project is underway to scope the strategic requirements of the new database. This will ensure the new NLIS will meet today’s needs for livestock biosecurity, food safety and market access, while also supporting future market requirements.
A highly collaborative approach will be taken with the development of the new platform. This will include engagement with industry as well as state and federal governments at all stages.
The new database will align functionality with the eNVD system for livestock consignments to streamline the current process for producers. It will also be able to handle the significant amounts of data that will flow through with the national implementation of sheep and goat electronic identification (eID).
Meat & Livestock Australia chairman Alan Beckett said, “We strongly welcome this collaborative partnership between the Australian Government and ISC that will ensure our national livestock traceability system continues to deliver outcomes for the red meat and livestock sector.
“Our livestock traceability system, and the database that supports it, is incredibly valuable for our industry, providing value across a whole range of aspects including market access, biosecurity and food safety.
“The system is highly regarded around the world and this grant provides a tremendous opportunity to strengthen and modernize the traceability database and ensure that it continues to deliver immense value for the industry.”
The funding is part of the Australian Government’s biosecurity package ‘Bolstering Australia’s biosecurity system’.
Source: Federal Government, ISC