REPORTS that more beef properties are at risk of going into quarantine in the wake of the BJD outbreak have been branded as "inaccurate" by the State Government.
A spokesman from Agriculture Minister John McVeigh's office said testing on animals from two trace forward properties had not been fully completed.
"Biosecurity Queensland has conducted preliminary trace-forward assessments for the two suspect properties," he said.
"However a full risk assessment cannot be finalised until it is clear whether the suspect animals are shedding BJD organisms."
This new information follows a statement provided to Queensland Country Life last Thursday from Biosecurity Queensland which confirmed more "risk assessments" on additional properties were being conducted.
The current number of properties under quarantine currently stands at 121 in connection to the initial outbreak last November.
A statement from Biosecurity Queensland said the organisation's officers were conducting further investigations on properties connected to two "trace forward" animals, but declined to offer additional details.
"Risk assessments are being undertaken to determine the exact number of properties," the statement said.
A source within Biosecurity Queensland has told Queensland Country LifeThe ministerial spokesman has rejected the claim as premature and the figure quoted as false.
"Based on current information, if positive test results were received from the suspect properties, the figure will be substantially less," he said.
The latest twist comes as the State Government moves closer to its March deadline, when the first test results from samples taken soon after the outbreak's confirmation become available.
Agriculture Minister John McVeigh has said the test results would reveal the extent of the disease's spread.
He said a decision will then be taken in consultation with industry on the best way to proceed - either continuing with the current eradication plan or pursuing a version of the producer-managed model which exists in Australia's southern states.
Other sources close to Mr McVeigh have told QCL today the Minister is preparing to make a major announcement on the BJD response early next week, with details likely to be provided on when a "significant" number of properties will be lifted out of quarantine. Mr McVeigh's spokesman has been contacted for comment.
Mr McVeigh and his BJD producer liaison officer Dr Ron Glanville are also due to speak at the Rural Press Club in Brisbane on February 22 to outline progress on the BJD response.