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'J-BAS system floored'

BIOSECURITY MODEL: Property Rights Australia call for more accuracy in new J-BAS system.
BIOSECURITY MODEL: Property Rights Australia call for more accuracy in new J-BAS system. Susanna Freymark

THE beef industry usually lives on the slimmest of margins and is always searching for efficiencies.

What industry would bring in, under the guise of self-responsibility or a voluntary system, a protocol that locks in inefficiencies at every level?

At its highest level, it is based on a test that is often inaccurate (some tests more accurate than others) so that any producer who decides to go down that road is taking a risk.

Basic principles should be that the test should be accurate and repeatable and the whole program should be simple to implement with simple answers to complex questions.

None of these qualities applies to the new J-BAS system nor its mirror in the Livestock Production Assurance biosecurity model.

The proponents of the program cannot answer clearly any of the common "what ifs” of the industry such as mixed use or serial use of trucks, saleyards and showgrounds or mingling of neighbours' livestock and how all these instances may affect your score.

Most importantly for Property Rights Australia, will we be told about the possible liability which will be suffered if we get it wrong?

Probably, no, and yet these are among the many unanswered questions that come with J-BAS.

Where is our strong cattle advocacy organisation working, not on behalf of "the industry” but on behalf of the individual men and women who make up our livestock industry?

Where are the lawyers working on behalf of, controlled by and paid for by our advocacy organisation who are casting their eyes over the new clauses of our (invisible) contract and its underlying legislation to discover and inform its participants of even greater liability and penalty?

Cattle Council of Australia and Meat and Livestock Association have already buried one legal opinion on the question of liability for third party actions under the previous LPA system.

Their excuse was that it was for CCA to inform policy.

No policy on future possible individual liability seems to be evident here.

Until such questions have been answered this system should not be introduced.

The present advocacy organisation has neither the capability nor the will to save producers from financial ruin either under the previous Johnes system nor the potential for it under the yet to be introduced J-BAS and its twin in the LPA module.

Topics:  biosecurity cattle j-bas joanne rea livestock livestock biosecurity network red tape


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