December 7, 2012
Urgent talks in Rockhampton have concluded with all parties rock solid behind the State Government’s attempts to eradicate Bovine Johne’s disease from Queensland. AgForce Cattle Board president Howard Smith told Fairfax Agricultural Media that his organisation and other beef industry representatives in the room were backing Agriculture Minister John McVeigh’s commitment to rid infected Queensland “The consensus among the stakeholders is to back Biosecurity Queensland on this approach,” he said. “Queensland’s position is far different to other states, climatically and with our extensive operations. We also have a solid commitment to maintaining our BJD protected status and keeping our industry clean and green. “I know there are people out there who hold a different view but once they hear the facts I’m sure they’ll see sense in the path that’s being taken. I am confident it can be eradicated.” It is now a bit over a week since BJD, a wasting disease of cattle rarely found in Queensland, was discovered on the Rockley Brahman stud at Bajool near Rockhampton. The find has sent parts of the studstock industry reeling, with now 50 stud and commercial operations now placed under quarantine to allow Biosecurity Queensland officers access to test cattle suspected of carrying the contamination. It is estimated a further 108 studs and commercial cattle properties are under suspicion, with the testing program likely to take more than 12 weeks before authorities are capable of providing an all-clear. The probe has also extended into the Northern Territory, NSW and WA, with each jurisdiction thought to have about 10 studs under investigation, all with a link to the Rockley stud in Central Queensland. Western Australia is the only State in Australia that is declared BJD free under the 2003 National BJD Management Plan. A spokesman for Mr McVeigh’s office said relevant authorities in NSW, WA and the NT had been notified and were conducting their own investigations.