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animal diseases that have national and international significance. Australia is able to demonstrate its freedom from these and other exotic diseases and we benefit from trade advantages as a consequence. These advantages and associated public health implications should not be put at risk.
One of the ways that Australia can continue to protect and demonstrate its disease-free status is to have appropriate and effective legislation in place. That is why the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service has such high standards. That is why the ACT is an active member of Animal Health Australia, a government/industry corporation that sets standards and emergency response measures for disease management.
By any measure the ACT primary sector is small. However, we are part of a region and animal movements occur regularly in the normal course of business. We are very dependent on surrounding New South Wales for our continued viability, and for this reason alone it is important to have consistency in the way we do business, including relevant underpinning legislation. The provisions of this bill are consistent with animal health measures being introduced nationally, particularly in New South Wales.
The Animal Diseases Bill 2005 will take account of national developments in the management of animal health issues in the primary industry sector that have implications for public health, trade and commerce. In particular, it will support implementation of the national livestock identification system, control the transmission of disease vectors through stockfeed, and enhance quarantine powers in the case of an animal health disease incident. A number of administrative reforms are also accommodated.
The national livestock identification system is a permanent whole-of-life identification system for stock, operated through a national database that enables individual animals to be tracked from property of birth to slaughter. This is an important disease management measure, especially in the face of increasing global concern about diseases such as mad cow disease that have public health and international trade implications. A whole-of-life traceability is essential for locating all cattle related to a case.
Consistent with legislation that has been introduced in New South Wales and Victoria, the provisions of this bill will enable the ACT to gradually move away from the current manual tagging and recording system to an electronic system where stock movement and ownership details will automatically be read from an ear tag as stock are handled. This will be done by regulation.
The amendments will also ban the feeding of particular meat products—swill—to pigs, so that they do not act as a reservoir of disease vectors that can be reintroduced to the national cattle herd. Other jurisdictions have banned the feeding of swill for some years, but until recently pig keeping was not permitted in the ACT. On a similar theme, the bill provides for the appropriate labelling of compounded stockfeed that contains meat products, so that health or disease implications for food animals are appropriately identified. Again, this provision has been agreed on a national basis.
The bill also provides for a minimum 72-hour stock standstill whereby all stock movement can be halted. This measure is an important emergency response and has been agreed in principle by all jurisdictions in Australia. A stock standstill will place an obligation on owners or controllers of stock to stop movement of stock for a defined