THE Victorian Government has heeded industry calls and will not enforce new Ovine Johne's Disease rules.
Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh today called for the new rules to be deferred.
The Victorian Farmers Federation has been campaigning for a delay in the introduction of the rules.
Mr Walsh announced today that the Victorian Coalition Government will not regulate or enforce the national sheep industry's proposed new Ovine Johne's Disease Management Plan if it comes into operation January 1.
Mr Walsh said national sheep organisations and Animal Health Australia should defer implementation of the industry's OJD plan to allow effective consultation with growers and refinement of the proposed program.
"Farmers have been self-managing the risk of OJD in their flocks for many years under the industry's current OJD program using vaccination; testing; and informed, risk-based purchases of replacement and stud sheep,'' Mr Walsh said.
"The proposed national OJD program has been developed and championed by Wool Producers Australia and the Sheepmeat Council of Australia together with Animal Health Australia.
"It is an industry-managed program designed by the sheep industry and there has been no input into its development by the Victorian Coalition Government.''
Mr Walsh wrote to the South Australian Agriculture Minister this week to put forward Victoria's position that it would be inappropriate to regulate sheep trade restrictions between states on the basis of the new OJD program.
"As an industry-managed program it is not appropriate for the Victorian Coalition Government, or any other government, to regulate or enforce the proposed requirements,'' Mr Walsh said.
"There has been no national Regulatory Impact Statement process undertaken to assess the costs and benefits of the proposed OJD plan on industry or on state or national economies.
"Without a proper regulatory assessment there could be no justification for regulated restrictions on interstate trade of sheep.''
Mr Walsh said he supported the VFF petition campaign to delay introduction of the new OJD plan and to retain recognition under the program for flocks that had been vaccinated.
Weekly Times Now has contacted the VFF for comment.