State Member for Euroa and Deputy Nationals Leader Steph Ryan has called for the implementation of farm biosecurity plans by the meat and livestock industry to be delayed.
Ms Ryan said there was great confusion over the plans, which farmers must adopt if they wish to keep accreditation under Meat & Livestock Australia’s Livestock Production Assurance program.
‘‘I have been contacted by a number of farmers who are frustrated by the biosecurity plans, which were added to the LPA program in October this year,’’ Ms Ryan said.
‘‘People agree that biosecurity plans are necessary and with what MLA are trying to achieve, but they are incredibly frustrated with the way the changes have been rolled out.
‘‘There has been a lack of communication about the changes and a lack of support when it comes to finding out more about the implementation.
‘‘The implementation of the program should be delayed until this confusion is worked out.’’
Ms Ryan said she had written to MLA to convey the concerns of farmers in the Euroa electorate.
‘‘One farmer tried to get more information via the helpline seven times before getting through to someone and was then told that the materials he required were not available,’’ Ms Ryan said.
‘‘Another farmer was concerned that it all seemed to happen out of the blue with little to no communication or publicity.
‘‘She believes the information pack to be confusing and is unsure about what is required as opposed to what is recommended.’’
Ms Ryan said concerns had also been raised about the timeframe proposed to complete the required biosecurity plan.
Euroa farmer Graham Newton said given the workload of farmers and how busy they were with stock and crops, two months was not enough time for some people to complete the plan.
‘‘I know of farmers who have very busy workloads from August through to Christmas with one job on top of another,’’ Mr Newton said.
‘‘That really worries me because there seems to be no give from MLA.
‘‘If it’s not done, then effectively MLA puts us out of business.
‘‘And when you ring five or six times and you can’t get anybody, you can imagine how frustrating it is.’’