Just 12 months ago, I announced that electronic tagging would be mandatory in Victoria for sheep and goats.
Today marks that important anniversary for the Victorian livestock industry.
Since then, there’s been enormous work across the industry and the progress has been quite astounding.
From producers, livestock agents, saleyards, processors, hardware and software providers, consultants, industry bodies, tag manufacturers and Agriculture Victoria – everyone has played their part in the transition to modern traceability system.
The key driver in the transition to an electronic system is to protect and grow market access for Victoria’s $6.7 billion a year livestock industries.
That protection comes from being able to quickly and reliably track animals of interest in a disease or food safety emergency.
Over the 12 months, there’s been a significant shift from ‘why change’ to ‘how to implement’ the new system.
I’ve met many producers across Victoria who aren’t just complying with this change, they are embracing it.
To date, over 8 million electronic tags have been purchased.
A competitive tender to supply tags helps ensure Victorian producers enjoy access to the cheapest electronic tags in Australia.
Many Victorian farmers have also moved forward with making their businesses savvy to electronic identification and the benefits it can bring.
Since the new system was announced, Victorian sheep producers have invested over $2.4 million in optional scanning equipment to capture additional productivity benefits.
All 24 abattoirs are on track to comply with the new system by 31 December 2017. Likewise, the state’s 23 sheep saleyards are actively engaged in trials and planning or purchasing required infrastructure to meet their 31 March 2018 requirements.
We said Victoria would lead the charge on this transition and that’s exactly what we have done.
It was a big decision and a big change, but it was the move we simply had to make to protect our clean, green reputation and give consumers across the world the confidence that Victorian produce is safe and reliable.
What’s more, we’re beginning to see productivity improvements all the way through the sheep and goat supply chain.
The state’s livestock industry can be justifiably proud of being national leaders.
This is game-changing technology and Victorian farmers are proudly leading the way.
Victoria is well placed, as increasingly sophisticated consumers from Asia, Europe the Middle East and elsewhere demand greater information about where their meat and fine wool has come from.
Through this reform, consumers, processors and buyers will get the certainty they have been looking for.