More questions than answers on OJD

30 Aug, 2000 03:06 PM
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GOVERNMENT-funded compensation for properties affected by Ovine Johne's Disease could still be a way off after a delegation of grower and industry representatives met last week. After discussions with representatives from Primary Industry Minister Monty House's office last week to lobby for a one-off compensation plan and discuss eradication issues, the slow process looks set to continue, despite some positive points coming from the meeting. WA Farmers Federation (WAFF) Meat Section president Barry Bell said the meeting was positive, with the minister's office open to the idea of compensation, but it came with the condition that industry examines its responsibility for disease management in the future. "It is difficult for both parties to commit to a firm course of action without knowing the extent of the disease, or what disease management strategies can be adapted by industry in the future," he said. Mr Bell said WAFF would now be looking for further feedback from its members to develop a policy for livestock disease management in the future. PGA president Barry Court said the organisation was in agreement with WAFF over the results of the meeting. Mr Court was very keen to see a one-off compensation claim, funded by the Government or the Agriculture Protection Board. Mr Court stressed it was a one-off compensation case and should be treated as such, not as an issue that the whole farming community must pay for. "We won't be bulldozed into setting up a levy for our members in order to deal with compensation for affected producers," he said. WA Stud Merino Breeders Association president Peter Ralston (pictured) while not being drawn on technical details of the issue, agreed that the property in question needed to be compensated, but was unsure as to how or by whom this would be paid. "It is now just a slow process that needs to be worked through correctly," he said. Mr Ralston was also keen for WA to retain its OJD free status, which requires the infected property be de-stocked within 12 months. A spokesman for Mr House said the Government was keen to work with the industry, but the onus was on industry groups to come up with a disease management strategy, which would include compensation.

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