Maria Itina

Farmers face biosecurity fee

WARWICK horse owners and cattle farmers face a new fee if proposed changes to the Queensland Biosecurity Act go ahead.

The $357.55 three-year impost will hit anyone farming or making money from a range of animals including horses, cattle, sheep, goats and pigs.

Under the plan farmers may have to pay property identification code registration fees, which the State Government now pays.

Three options are on the table - the government meeting the cost, farmers paying the fee or a final option where the government would pay 66% of the fee as a subsidy.

Queensland Horse Council president Rob Kerslake said the cost was too high.

"I've got a bit of a problem because the costing is based on current (technology) processes that are totally out of date," said Mr Kerslake, who was on the equine working group for the changes.

"The costs involved that they're going to put on the individuals is basically to set up a modern program."

Queensland Farmers Federation biosecurity spokesman Gary Sansom said farmers would accept the move to a user-pays system.

"This appears to be a fairly nominal fee that could be charged to farmers to fund the program and the changes, and we expect that in the context of modern commercial farming operations, most enterprises would understand the importance of this investment," Mr Sansom said.

Biosecurity Queensland principal policy officer Mark Lightowler urged everyone from backyard gardeners to cattle producers to give their views.

Farmers have until November 21 to have their say on the changes.



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