[30 October/Stuff]

Biosecurity Minister, Damien O’Connor, has opened a consultation round on proposed improvements to the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme.  The Minister said that the scheme should have worked better during the initial stages of the Mycoplasma Bovis response, adding that he determined to make changes to the scheme to make it an easy to use, world class traceability scheme.  In became apparent in the response to MBovis that many farmers had not been using the system correctly or at all and as a consequence legislative changes were rushed through parliament to strength MPI’s search powers under the NAIT Act.  The consultation looks at ways to tighten rules around untagged animals, improve the use of data and align penalties for non-compliance with other acts to reflect the seriousness of not following the rules.  Industry bodies welcomed the consultation and encouraged farmers to make submissions, with particular focus being put on how species that are not currently included in the system are managed moving forward.  The consultation closes on 19 December.