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Sheepmeat Council : Sheepmeat 2012
44 SHEEPMEAT COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA ANNUAL MUSTER 2012 SAFF continues to fght the state government on the biosecurity levy.In last year’s contribution, the South Australian Farmers Federation (SAFF) highlighted the fght to stop the proposed biosecurity levy. No Biosecurity Levy Unfortunately this levy is still very much on the South Australian Government's agenda, having first been announced in the 2010 State Budget. The State Government has now set up an Animal Health Cost Recovery Reference Group to examine whether cost recovery for animal health services is appropriate and where it should be applied. The Group will focus on: How the principles of cost recovery should • be applied; Transitioning arrangements where cost • recovery is applied; The obligations of Government and the • services required by industry to deliver sustainable business outcomes. While SAFF is well represented with over half the industry representatives on this Group, there is still concern that the emphasis is on cost recovery. At the same time as the Cost Recovery Reference Group has been formed, an Inquiry into the Biosecurity Fee is being conducted by the Economic, Resources and Development Committee in State Parliament. The terms of reference for this Inquiry are to investigate and report on the cost recovery policy of PIRSA (Department of Primary Industries and Regions South Australia -- the SA Government Department that deals with agriculture) in the form of a proposed biosecurity fee as it affects livestock owners, in particular: 1. A comparison of the services to be provided by the proposed biosecurity fee with those of the commonwealth government's biosecurity program. 2. A review of the proposed cost-share formula as it affects different species. 3. Consideration of the appropriateness of the exemptions criteria (species types and number of animals kept). In addition to SAFF at least one national livestock organisation has made a supportive submission. Regardless of these deliberations, SAFF is continuing to fight against the proposed biosecurity levy, not only for our own livestock industries but also for the rest of the nation. This proposed levy will be a non-productive financial burden on an industry that is already laden with fees. Biosecurity is an issue that affects everyone, not just agricultural producers. It is unjust to expect producers to meet the majority of the cost of guarding the safety of the general public. Particularly so when producers are already paying for this. Biosecurity is an issue of public good. Put simply, individual producers should not be made to pay for it. other activities Some of the other livestock issues that SAFF have been involved with over the past year include the following: Conservation Farming and Recreation Alliance SAFF has participated in the formation of this Alliance which also includes SA Dairyfarmers, several horse racing organisations, rodeos, and organisations of recreational shooters and professional hunters in South Australia. The aim of the Alliance is to provide advice to both the State Government and the State Opposition on the value of livestock to South Australia and to reinforce that good animal welfare management practices are not only being followed but are continuously being updated. Changes to OJD Of key concern for South Australian producers are the entry requirements from the proposed 'Control Area' to a 'Protected Area' ( which South Australia will apply for). This issue is being addressed by the SA OJD Committee in consultation with Biosecurity SA (part of PIRSA) and the SA Sheep Advisory Group. Possible solutions have been forwarded to the respective national working groups dealing with these matters for consideration. SAFF representatives participated in the roadshow that the Sheepmeat Council of Australia jointly ran with Wool Producers Australia across Australia to explain the proposed changes. Stock theft In South Australia, the dedicated stock squad was abolished in 1987. Following a spate of stock thefts, SAFF lobbied for the stock squad to be re-established. This has led to the funding of Operation Poach. It has been integrated across the State's police force with the objective of lowering the incidence of livestock theft, with crime prevention, better intelligence collection and increased visual presence as its main focus. Calls to abolish the dog fence SAFF has rejected calls by scientists and environmentalists to abolish the dog fence. This fence has been a valuable asset to South Australian livestock producers south of the fence in keeping wild dogs in check. If the fence is removed it could well mean the end of the sheep and wool industry in this State. SAFF is lobbying the relevant South Australian Minister to maintain the Dog Fence as the only way to secure the future of the South Australian livestock industry from wild dog attacks. If the fence was removed wild dogs would easily and quickly move south. Deane Crabb POLICY MANAGER South Australian Farmers’ Federation