Sheep and goat electronic identification

Mr O'SULLIVAN (Northern Victoria) — The adjournment matter I wish to raise tonight is for the Minister for Agriculture, and it is in relation to the mandatory electronic identification (e-ID) of sheep and goats. The action I am seeking from the minister is that this government and the Minister for Agriculture make increased funds available for e-ID producers into the 2018 year in terms of the electronic tag subsidies.

As of 1 January 2017 it has been mandatory that all lambs born — and goats as well — were electronically tagged so that they could be traced if there were to be an outbreak of any disease. While that is a reasonable proposition, this government has decided it would go it alone rather than doing it as part of a national approach, which would mean all the other states getting involved as well. Be that as it may, farmers have had to go through the process in somewhat of a rushed fashion in terms of the implementation of this program to put mandatory tags in the ears of lambs and goats. The subsidies that were provided for them in 2017 equated to about $35 per farmer. There are about 20 000 sheep farmers in Victoria, and they each have $35 to assist them with the tagging. While that seems reasonable, the cost of setting up the processes to undertake that electronic tagging is somewhere between $3000 and $10 000 for each of those farmers.

We are looking for the minister to make more funds available and provide a bit more assistance in 2018 and potentially into 2019 so that sheep farmers can undertake what is a mandatory process in terms of the ear tagging. If we are going to set this process up and make it mandatory, we need to get it done properly where everyone is involved and on board. Farmers are very resourceful people, and they will find a way to make this work, but this government has made it quite complicated because of the way it is implementing the process. Some extra funds for 2018 would certainly help this cause.

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