Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 2 August 2018) . . Page.. 2666 ..
Advantages of the NLIS include reducing the potential consequences or costs of pest and disease outbreaks. Potential benefits also arise from mitigating food safety risks, improving product integrity and reducing market access restrictions. Farm productivity and animal welfare were also noted as protection benefits from improved traceability and animal identification.
While the bill should not have any significant new additional financial impacts on landholders or the government, we should acknowledge that there is a small cost to landholders. The cost of tags is already a default cost currently being carried by ACT landholders. This could be in the order of several thousand per landholder. Despite its benefits, it is sometimes seen as another tax on business. Some local landholders are concerned about the potential for higher costs from the NLIS scheme in the future.
The ACT will currently require only numbered ear tags, which are worth just a few cents each, the system currently used in New South Wales. However, the Victorian government uses a much more expensive version of the scheme which mandates the use of electronic readable sheep ear tags which cost several dollars each. If at some point the Victorian model were imposed in the ACT, this would be a serious new cost to the ACT sheep industry.
The scrutiny committee raised some issues which have been addressed by the minister. One issue which may remain of concern is about privacy and the management of private information. This is a concern that is shared across many domains. The minister has provided reassurances on this issue, but it is an area that we will continue to monitor.
While we recognise the increased costs of the full implementation and restrictions imposed by the NLIS scheme for our agricultural industries, and the issues around data privacy, the Canberra Liberals support this bill for biosecurity management reasons.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (4.32): I would like to make a few short remarks about the Animal Diseases Amendment Bill. The bill is chiefly about biosecurity for the ACT.
I know from my previous years as the minister responsible for agriculture and biosecurity that it is very important that animal diseases are able to be quickly managed by biosecurity authorities to reduce the impacts of any outbreaks of animal diseases if and when they happen. Of higher importance, of course, is trying to avoid any disease outbreaks. Knowing exactly where different types of animals are being kept will aid authorities to communicate with owners as fast as possible and, hopefully, reduce outbreaks and the impact of outbreaks.
The bill updates some of the requirements around tagging stock animals in the ACT. Tagging requirements have been around for some time now. I note that the national livestock identification scheme commenced in 1999. This bill updates those tagging requirements to reflect our ACT biosecurity needs. The system is primarily