Dairy farmers against end of Bovine Johne’s quarantine

MARY Valley dairy farmer Shane Paulger has strong but mixed feelings on State Government plans to dismantle its quarantine system for cattle suspected of carrying Bovine Johne's disease.

Queensland Agriculture Minister Leanne Donaldson announced the end of the state's BJD quarantine effort as of July 1.

The change has generated concern in the dairy industry, with Queensland Dairyfarmers' Organisation president Brian Tessman saying a recent survey showed "an overwhelming majority of our dairy farmer members were against removal of BJD protections".

"The Queensland dairy industry has held a position for decades to maintain its very low prevalence and freedom from BJD and we hope that this was not all in vain with the lifting of protections," he said.

But Mr Tessman said the organisation would continue to engage with the State Government for "a sensible biosecurity outcome".

"It is disappointing that industry was not given access to the regulations earlier to allow our members to better prepare for the framework change," he said.

"While the government looks to a 'shared responsibility' with industry, the stark reality will be a transference of responsibility and liability to the individual producer.

"It is now essential that

all Queensland dairy farmers take all necessary precautions to check movement histories when trading cattle, to minimise the impact of Johne's disease on their properties."

Mr Paulger, possibly a victim of overzealous enforcement of quarantine requirements, said he

still favoured regulation, but it must be reasonable and fair.

He claims action taken against him had been quite different from the general enforcement of the laws because of political conflict with the then LNP Government, because of his role in Katter's Australian Party.

"We were quarantined because we had two cows from down south, from a farm where one cow had been found with it," Mr Paulger said.