Chance pledges footrot assistance

28 Apr, 2004 10:00 PM
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WA Agriculture Minister Kim Chance said the State Government was determined important research and development into footrot would not take a backseat when Australian Wool Innovations (AWI) funding ended this year.

The $412,000 AWI funding was provided for footrot research, to assist in various state programs.

Mr Chance said the government and industry had applied to AWI for a continuation of those funds.

³While we can¹t count on that, there¹s every chance, given the significance of footrot nationally, that there will be a carry-on of that funding,² Mr Chance said

Mr Chance said the State Government was looking at a range of legislative and non-legislative options, if AWI funding was not extended.

³We¹d have to look to legislative options amongst a mix of resolutions,² Mr Chance said.

³We consider it so important, that in the event that the industry didn¹t see fit to continue funding its research program, we would be prepared to look at both legislative and non-legislative resolutions.

³The important thing is that the research is carried on.²

He said there were three options that could possibly be considered.

According to Mr Chance, drafting new stand-alone legislation had received general support from the industry.

³We¹ve basically negotiated that with industry already,² he said.

However, as new stand-alone legislation, it would have to wait in the queue to get drafted, Mr Chance said.

³That would impose some significant time restraints,² he said.

Another option open to the government wa to extend the Agriculture

Management Bill, which would take time.

³The third and most simple legislative option is to amend the Agricultural Produce Commission Act,² Mr Chance said. ³Even if only for a short period of time, while the legislation is prepared.²

Mr Chance said non-legislative options could include a levy in the Agriculture Department schedule of charges.

Mr Chance said industry accepted the fact AWI funding was not intended to be continuous.

AWI animal health and exotic disease project manager Scott Williams said the funding over two years was not directly for an eradication program.

Mr Williams said the aim of the research and development project was to provide nationally relevant information on the disease.

He said AWI was still considering whether to continue funding research and development that could be used in every state.

³We are not just going to fund an eradication program,² Mr Williams said.

³We will fund a research and development program that will assist an eradication program.²

Mr Williams said AWI was looking at proposals they had received from each state following last year¹s footrot conference.

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