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Tuesday, 12 September 1972
Page: 1237

Mr Grassby asked the Mininter for Primary Industry, upon notice:

What progress has been made in:

(a)   developing a national scheme of compensation associated with a total condemnation of all cattle either reacting to test oi showing T.B. lesions and.

(b)   extending the national T.B. eradication programme.

Mr Sinclair - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

Under amendments to the United States meat inspection regulations earlier this year, the United States domestic industry and all countries exporting meat to the United States may only pass for human consumption, without restriction, carcases found to be completely free from tuberculosis at post-mortem inspection; and then only if the animal was not identified as a reactor to a tuberculin test.

Following these U.S. amendments and associated changes in Australian inspection requirements, the Commonwealth in conjunction with the States considered:

(i)   the need for intensification of the Campaign against bovine tuberculosis, and

(ii)   the problem of compensation for cattle condemned either as reactors to a tuberculin test or as showing T.B. lesions.

(i)   In relation to the Campaign

The National Brucellosis and Tuberculosis Eradication Campaign has been operating successfully since it began in January 1970. Annual expenditure, which is financed from Commonwealth and State resources, has expanded in each year, and in the period 1st January 1970 to 30th June 1972, the Commonwealth contributed just over $4m.

There were eradication programmes in the States prior to January 1970. With the start of the national campaign, the Commonwealth agreed to match the combined expenditure by mainland States from their own resources, to make a special arrangement with Tasmania in view of its previous successful efforts which bad virtually freed that State of bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis, and to meet costs In the mainland Territories.

In view of the situation following the amendments to the United States inspection requirements, the Commonwealth indicated to the States its willingness to intensify the national campaign against the 2 diseases. The Commonwealth has made provision in the Budget for an expenditure of $4ni in 1972-73, that is about the same amount for one year as it contributed in the previous 2 and a half years.

(ii)   In relation to Compensation

For many years State authorities have had schemes, covering a range of cattle diseases, which enable producers to be paid compensation if their animals are condemned on account of disease. These schemes have been effective in helping to reduce the incidence of tuberculosis and other diseases.

The schemes operate under State legislation and the funds are predominantly met from levies on producers.

The legislation in the States has been developed to meet particular needs; as a result the diseases that are covered are not the same in each State and also the regulations relating to levies vary from State to State.

As regards cattle condemned because of tuberculosis, all States with the exception of Queensland currently have arrangements to pay compensation although the arrangements in Western Australia relate only to the southern part of the State. In Queensland there was a compensation scheme for tuberculosis in dairy cattle but it terminated on 30tb June 1972.

After careful consideration of a number of proposals, including a proposal for a national scheme, the Government decided that compensation arrangements remained a matter for State authorities.

The Commonwealth is pursuing urgently the development of a suitable scheme for the Northern Territory which is of course its particular responsibility.

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