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Beef group says MLA move will let ‘banks spy on us’

THE Australian Beef Association has launched a scathing campaign on Meat and Livestock Australia's National Livestock Identification Scheme for allowing financial institutions access to producers' accounts.

The ABA said an admission of this was made to their former director John Carter.

Current director Brad Bellinger said MLA was developing a user-pay system that automatically notified financial institutions, including banks, stock and station agencies and investors, when stock are moved on to or off a property for purchase, sale or slaughter.

"NLIS was imposed on cattle producers on the understanding it was needed for market access and bio-security," he said.

"NLIS costs producers $50 million per year and it is now being sold by MLA to banks to spy on us.

"Cattle producers are the primary stakeholders in NLIS. We should have been consulted before any action was taken to sell our cattle information for profit."

MLA issued a response saying the group adheres to privacy laws, with no NLIS information provided to any third parties without consent from the producer.

The statement detailed that NLIS has been piloting restricted third party access to NLIS accounts since 2008, with a small number of financial institutions and producers, and all producers involved had granted permission for information about their livestock to be disclosed when they leave for sale or slaughter.

It said the aim was to benefit producers through more favourable financing options when seeking a mortgage against their livestock. If, in the future, it was deemed to be of benefit to the industry, participation would be voluntary.

The statement also said NLIS Ltd has received no revenue for this functionality during the pilot.

Topics:  cattle livestock mla