Victorian producers still do not know if the Andrews Government will subsidise electronic identification tags for sheep and goats in 2018, according to Shadow Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh.
Mr Walsh said Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford refused to confirm if the Andrews Government would subsidise tags in 2018 and said her admissions confirmed the process was severely delayed.
Mr Walsh urged Victorian sheep and goat producers to hold off buying tags for next year until the Andrews Government was able to confirm a price.
‘‘Farmers have completed their budgets for next year but they’ve got no idea how much the Andrews Labor Government will charge them to comply with its eID scheme in 2018,’’ he said.
‘‘There’s a huge discrepancy in cost — a subsidised rate of 37¢ or the full rate of 74¢.
‘‘Producers should hold off buying tags until the Andrews Government provides them with certainty.’’
Mr Walsh said under Labor’s plan, information should have started being uploaded to the National Livestock Identification Scheme from July 1 this year but in practice, none of the information is being uploaded to the NLIS because the software doesn’t exist to do it.
‘‘Industry is on board with the implementation of eID but saleyard operators and agents are concerned that things are moving too slowly, the money is drying up too quickly and deadlines to begin scanning are approaching too quickly.
‘‘It’s time the minister seriously considered the appropriateness of some of her deadlines.
‘‘We know there are issues with software compatibility, scanning at saleyards and possible cost blowouts when Labor’s meek $2.8million fund for saleyards dries up.
‘‘The Andrews Government thought industry could just apply the systems used for cattle to sheep and goats. It’s now apparent that just won’t work.’’