January 18, 2013
The State Government today launched a $5 million fund to support the cattle industry during disease outbreaks.
Speaking at Gracemere Saleyards, Premier Campbell Newman said it was particularly significant given the outbreak of Bovine Johne’s disease (BJD).
“Beef production is the State’s most valuable agricultural industry and is essential to the Queensland economy,” Mr Newman said.
“It is worth more than $4.5 billion a year and supports more than 13,000 jobs, as well as an additional 12,000 jobs in meat processing and 30,000 along the supply chain.
“That’s why my government is kick-starting an assistance program – the Queensland Cattle Industry Biosecurity Fund – with a $2 million grant and a loan of up to $3 million to be matched dollar-for-dollar by cattle producers through an industry levy.
“The loan will be repayable through the industry levy, but this is about getting an assistance program operating now that can help producers caught up with BJD and any further disease outbreaks in our beef industry in the future.”
Mr Newman said he was pleased industry was already working on the voluntary levy.
“This approach is in place in other States but has been lacking here in Queensland,” he said
“I strongly urge the cattle industry to take advantage of this seed funding and use it to build this scheme so that monetary support is available for future disease outbreaks.”
Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister John McVeigh said his Department was working closely with industry on how levy contributions could be made and how the fund would be managed.
“The priority will be helping producers whose businesses are being impacted by movement restrictions and having to test animals as part of the current BJD response,” he said.
“We’re aiming to provide affected producers with details over the next few weeks on how they can access support.
“The Newman Government does not expect individual producers to bear the cost of eradication programs that ultimately benefit all in the cattle industry.
“Industry wants to retain Queensland’s Protected Zone status for BJD and eradicate the disease from affected properties, and we’re making progress.
“I hope with this funding we will ensure we continue to reach this goal.”