June 28, 2013
Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson today announced individual sheep owners will have greater responsibility for their own biosecurity under the new national Ovine Johnes Disease (OJD) program.
“The new OJD program was developed by the peak sheep industry bodies in consultation with state farming organisations and State Governments, and comes into effect on Monday,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
“From 1 July, producers can establish voluntary Regional Biosecurity Plans (RBP) in place of OJD Exclusion Areas. There will no longer be prevalence areas or zones for OJD.
“Producers also have access to a new industry developed Sheep Health Statement (SHS) –
which can be used as a biosecurity risk assessment tool for producers.”
The new SHS will be voluntary not mandatory for movements of restocker sheep in NSW
for a series of reasons:
• The SHS was introduced in 2004 when there were major changes made to the
approach to managing OJD in NSW. At that time, the former Minister for Primary
Industries, Ian Macdonald MLC, made the SHS mandatory in NSW for a period of one year.
• The mandatory requirement was not withdrawn after one year but has not been
enforced in NSW. In the nine years since, industry has had time to embrace the use of a
SHS, yet monitoring indicates that there is generally low support for its use.
• It is also appropriate that individual producers make the fundamental decisions for
their own farm business regarding animal health status, and parasite and disease
prevention or control measures.
• It follows that if OJD is an industry priority there will be a significant driver for its use
regardless of whether it is mandatory or not.
“In line with NSW Government policy of reducing regulation and minimising red tape, the
decision has been made to no longer mandate the use of the SHS,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
“The use of SHS and Regional Biosecurity Plans is encouraged through advice and
communication rather than a regulatory compliance regime.
“Voluntary use of the SHS is also in line with most other States in Australia.
“The industry and other States, including Queensland and South Australia, have been
informed of this change in NSW,” Ms Hodgkinson said.