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Coalition tries to stop government selling goats worth $1 million

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M edia Release Forfitrther information: Parliament House, Canberra A C T 2600

72Telephone:Facsimile:06/2774193 06/2772053


The price of having goats in quarantine has risen more than 800 per cent in the past six years and breeders are now facing a $1 million bill they cannot afford, according to National Party Deputy Leader and Shadow Minister for Primary Industry, Bruce Lloyd.

Mr Lloyd said the Government's answer to this problem was to introduce legislation which would allow the Government to sell the goats which have been in quarantine for seven years, to recoup the money.

"When goat breeders first replied to an advertisement placed by the Department of Health in 1983, asking for people who were interested in importing goats from the US to join its Scabie Quarantine program, they were told the costs of quarantine fees would be $50 per goat per year.

"Today that cost is $410, and instead of five years in quarantine the period has been extended to eight.

"The goats are due to be released from quarantine next year and the Government now wants to sell the goats to pay the bill."

Mr Lloyd said the Government had offered the goat owners an extra three months to pay the bill, but Minister, Alan Griffiths, has told them they will not get their goats until the bill is paid.

The Opposition believes this matter of payment should be settled between the parties or in the courts and not by the Government

changing the ground rules seven years after the initial contract to put the goats into quarantine.

The goats are needed to improve the fibre quality of the Australian herd and as soon as the owners start breeding from them they will be able to get some money back on their investment and have some hope of paying the $1 million bill.

For this reason the Opposition has moved an amendment to the

Government's Quarantine Amendment Bill to stop the Government being able to sell any animals that were in quarantine before September 1, this year.

The Opposition does not support the non-payment of bills, but does believe that when people undertake a program with the Government the Government should understand the rules.

Breeders, or any other people using the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service for bringing animals, plants or genetic material into Australia, should insist that contracts be signed which clearly determine annual charges.