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Tuesday, 7 February 2017
Page: 169

Bovine Johne's Disease

(Question No. 46)


Ms McGowan asked the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, in writing:

(1) What factors were considered in the recent decision to deregulate the management of Bovine Johne's Disease (BJD) and abandon quarantining.

(2) What are the differences between (a) the deregulated scoring system used under the new BJD Framework, and (b) zoning used under the previous Market Assurance Program (MAP).

(3) On what grounds can he rationalise the outcomes of the BJD Framework given the Australian Chief Veterinarian Officer's acknowledgement that no national surveys have been carried out on the national herd in respect of (a) prevalence, (b) epidemiology, (c) productivity losses, and (d) cost-benefit analyses associated with BJD.

(4) Will the Government consider compensating cattle breeders who have been financially and socially impacted by trade restrictions resulting from the previous MAP.


Mr Joyce: The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

1. In 2015, Meat and Livestock Australia surveyed endemic livestock diseases of cattle in Australia and found BJD to be the least important disease economically of the 17 diseases considered.

Australia's regulatory approach of quarantining affected properties was causing difficulties for many cattle producers, especially those in the north who had no outlets available to them once placed in quarantine. In many cases quarantine was imposed for a number of years on each property.

The National BJD Strategic Plan Review conducted by Animal Health Australia identified support for BJD to be dealt with differently from the way in which it had been dealt with over the previous 12 years. The review provided multiple opportunities for input into how the Australian cattle industry (beef, dairy and feedlot) and governments would work with BJD into the future.

The review panel included representatives of Cattle Council of Australia, Australian Dairy Farmers, Meat and Livestock Australia, Dairy Australia, Australian Registered Cattle Breeders Association, Australian Lot Feeders Association, Chief Veterinary Officers and the Australian Cattle Veterinarians Association.

There was general support for BJD to be addressed under a common biosecurity approach for endemic diseases, with less emphasis placed on an individual disease. Accordingly, it was not appropriate for the existing strategic plan to continue in its current state.

2. Zoning did not exist under CattleMAP. However, zoning was part of the previous national management plan, with restrictions specified for trading livestock between areas with different risk profiles.

The review of the national management of Johne's disease resulted in the removal of quarantine measures and zoning, as well as the replacement of CattleMAP with a system known as J-BAS (Johne's-Beef Assurance Score). J-BAS is a voluntary risk assessment system used to provide an assessment of the risk of cattle carrying Johne's disease. It is used by the producer to assess the risk of whether cattle they are buying or moving to their property have Johne's disease, and recognises that on-farm biosecurity is the producer's responsibility.

3. The BJD Framework was developed using available evidence in consultation and with support from industry, producers and the Australian and state and territory Chief Veterinary Officers.

The review panel included representatives of Cattle Council of Australia, Australian Dairy Farmers, Meat and Livestock Australia, Dairy Australia, Australian Registered Cattle Breeders Association, Australian Lot Feeders Association, Chief Veterinary Officers and the Australian Cattle Veterinarians Association.

4. No. The Market Assurance Program was a voluntary program for producers to identify and promote their Johne's disease status to clients.