VICTORIAN Farmers Federation has welcomed news the state will not enforce new Ovine Johne's Disease rules if implemented in January.
The highly controversial new rules, which proposes regulating and restricting the sheep trade between states, have been heavily criticised by many sheep producers.
Many producers warned it would damage interstate trade, especially along the South Australian-Victorian border.
The new rules have been developed by a national OJD consultative process, which has been the responsibility of Animal Health Australia, with input from peak councils, such as Sheepmeat Council of Australia.
The VFF has been arguing, via representation on Sheepmeat Council and also in a petition to the National OJD Management Committee that the new rules, which would restrict the trading of sheep from control areas (of medium to high disease prevalence) into protected areas (low prevalence), were not the best solution.
The VFF was calling for a delay in the introduction of the new rules and wants recognition of vaccination programs as a means of gaining direct trade access between protected and control areas.
Today VFF Livestock president Ian Feldtmann said: "Mr Walsh's announcement is a good thing and it means he has supported the VFF Livestock Group's stance on the need to push back this program and to have vaccination included as an important part of any new program''.
Mr Feldtmann said the Victorian Government's actions show producers "we do have support at a Government level, which is reassuring''.
Mr Feldtmann said he would now attended a National OJD Management Committee meeting on December 4.
"Hopefully out of that meeting we will be given the opportunity to impress the importance of delaying the program, for at least 12 months, and to again discussion the importance of including vaccination and it being endorsed as a management approach in the new rules,'' he said.
"Whatever we do, producers around Australia need to have to opportunity to have input and we need to ensure that they embrace the new program when it comes forward.''
When asked if the Victorian Government's position now made proceeding with the new rules untenable, Mr Feldtmann conceded that the National OJD Management Committee would "need to consider the ramifications of the program and has really got to deal with the issues''.
Mr Feldtmann said producers had attended the recent VFF OJD information forums in "excellent'' numbers.
"What we need now is for AHA to better communicate with producers and consider vaccination further,'' he said.
However, he said, much hinged on what the South Australian authorities chose to in terms of restricting any sheep movements into that state.
Today Victoria Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh said the State Government would not regulate or enforce the national sheep industry's proposed new OJD rules and called for them to be deferred to allow effective consultation with growers and a refinement of the proposed program.
He has written 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 campaign to delay introduction of the new OJD plan and to retain recognition under the program for flocks that had been vaccinated.