Sleeping OJD fund urged

23 Mar, 2001 01:33 PM
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THE WA FARMERS Federation has agreed in principle to a "sleeping" zero-rated sheep and goat disease compensation plan that would only be activated to collect levies in event of a disease outbreak.

Delegates at last week's WAFF conference discussed the possibility of a state-based compensation scheme aimed at combating diseases, after concerns raised over the Ovine Johne's Disease (OJD) outbreak at a York property last year.

The property was now being de-stocked and negotiations were continuing with the owners over assistance which was above the rumoured $50,000, according to Agriculture Protection Board chairman Keryl Enright.

Under the OJD-related "in principle" motion passed at the conference, the government would provide bridging finance with legislation being activated for levies to be collected on a needs basis and for a "purpose approved by industry".

WAFF meat section president Barry Bell said the finer details of the scheme were still to be finalised.

"We are anticipating a zero-based levy which, with legislation, would be there if we had an outbreak," he said.

"In this case the property would be de-stocked, the (State) Government would refund us with bridging finance, you then activate the compensation fund to collect money for a specific period of time and then it would go back to sleep".

WA goatmeat producers association president Ron Harman said the WA goat industry was behind the OJD committee proposal as long as the scheme remained zero-based.

Outgoing wool section president Tony Gooch said WA agriculture minister Kim Chance had indicated he would look at the "assistance package".

"We believe it will come to a satisfactory conclusion very quickly," Mr Gooch said.

"This is not part of a national compensation scheme ‹ it's state-based."

But WAFF meat section senior vice president Jeff Murray said it wasn't necessary for the scheme as there was already close monitoring which was helped by a closed border, and the fact that industry was likely to "get behind" any further outbreak of OJD.

Agwest chief veterinary officer Dr John Edwards said 30 properties had been examined and 13,000 tests had been carried out after the confirmation of OJD at the York property.

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