Opin­ion on J-BAS sys­tem

Central and North Rural Weekly - - NEWS - JOANNE REA

.THE beef in­dus­try usu­ally lives on the slimmest of mar­gins and is al­ways search­ing for ef­fi­cien­cies.

What in­dus­try would bring in, un­der the guise of self-re­spon­si­bil­ity or a vol­un­tary sys­tem, a pro­to­col that locks in in­ef­fi­cien­cies at ev­ery level?

At its high­est level, it is based on a test that is of­ten in­ac­cu­rate (some tests more ac­cu­rate than oth­ers) so that any pro­ducer who de­cides to go down that road is tak­ing a risk.

Ba­sic prin­ci­ples should be that the test should be ac­cu­rate and re­peat­able and the whole pro­gram should be sim­ple to im­ple­ment with sim­ple an­swers to com­plex ques­tions.

None of these qual­i­ties ap­plies to the new J-BAS sys­tem nor its mir­ror in the Live­stock Pro­duc­tion As­sur­ance biose­cu­rity model.

The pro­po­nents of the pro­gram can­not an­swer clearly any of the com­mon “what ifs” of the in­dus­try such as mixed use or se­rial use of trucks, sa­le­yards and show­grounds or min­gling of neigh­bours’ live­stock and how all these in­stances may af­fect your score. Most im­por­tantly for Prop­erty Rights Aus­tralia, will we be told about the pos­si­ble li­a­bil­ity which will be suf­fered if we get it wrong?

Prob­a­bly, no, and yet these are among the many unan­swered ques­tions that come with J-BAS.

Where is our strong cat­tle ad­vo­cacy or­gan­i­sa­tion work­ing, not on be­half of “the in­dus­try” but on be­half of the in­di­vid­ual men and women who make up our live­stock in­dus­try? Where are the lawyers work­ing on be­half of, con­trolled by and paid for by our ad­vo­cacy or­gan­i­sa­tion who are cast­ing their eyes over the new clauses of our (in­vis­i­ble) con­tract and its un­der­ly­ing leg­is­la­tion to dis­cover and in­form its par­tic­i­pants of even greater li­a­bil­ity and penalty?

Cat­tle Coun­cil of Aus­tralia and Meat and Live­stock As­so­ci­a­tion have al­ready buried one le­gal opin­ion on the ques­tion of li­a­bil­ity for third party ac­tions un­der the pre­vi­ous LPA sys­tem.

Their ex­cuse was that it was for CCA to in­form pol­icy.

No pol­icy on fu­ture pos­si­ble in­di­vid­ual li­a­bil­ity seems to be ev­i­dent here.

Un­til such ques­tions have been an­swered this sys­tem should not be in­tro­duced.

The present ad­vo­cacy or­gan­i­sa­tion has nei­ther the ca­pa­bil­ity nor the will to save pro­duc­ers from fi­nan­cial ruin ei­ther un­der the pre­vi­ous Johnes sys­tem nor the po­ten­tial for it un­der the yet to be in­tro­duced J-BAS and its twin in the LPA mod­ule.

PHOTO: FILE

BIOSE­CU­RITY MODEL: Prop­erty Rights Aus­tralia is call­ing for more ac­cu­racy in the new J-BAS sys­tem.

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