Govt handling of Bovine Johne's outbreak under review

A REVIEW has been launched into how the State Government handled the outbreak of Bovine Johne's Disease that still affects more than 70 Queensland cattle properties.

A pair of independent advisors - AgForce general president Brent Finlay and University of Queensland lecturer Professor Johnathon Hill - would start their investigation in March, delivering a report before the end of April.

The discovery of BJD in late 2012 led to 170 properties being restricted in how they moved cattle.

That number has fallen as more properties are declared safe.

Testing for the disease can take up to eight weeks, so although the restrictions have eased, Biosecurity Queensland is still carefully working through up to 5300 samples from more than 2900 animals taken at 80 properties.

BJD is considered endemic in Victoria and in some parts of South Australia and New South Wales but Queensland is considered protected from the disease.

Agriculture Minister John McVeigh said the review helped ensure this protected status was not lost.

"Queensland's beef industry is worth more than $4.5 billion per year and our state's BJD protected status means Queensland has greater market access than other parts of Australia," Mr McVeigh said.

Destroying the disease in Queensland was the first priority, he said.

Part of that was to have regular reviews done on the government's response.

"Only then can we make an informed decision on the future direction," he said.



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