AUSTRALIA'S peak vet body has joined the fight to keep Townsville's biosecurity lab open.
The LNP Government is still on track to close the Oonoonba facility and relocate it south in March, rather than build a new lab at James Cook University as promised by the former Labor government.
Australian Veterinary Association Queensland spokesman Nigel Thomas said the Government would regret the decision.
"Veterinarians are extremely concerned about the future impact of these decisions on agricultural industries," he said.
"We're worried that diseases won't be picked up until it's too late, and that response efforts will cost agriculture millions of dollars.
"We're also concerned that samples won't be sent for analysis due to high transport costs that need to be paid for by farmers."
He said technical expertise was also being lost with the closure of the lab.
"These highly skilled staff can't be replaced in a hurry," he said.
"It takes years to train a senior veterinary pathologist."
The vet association is overseeing the upgrade of the department's Coopers Plains facility, where some Townsville staff and equipment will be shifted to.
Agriculture Minister John McVeigh says the decision not to proceed with the new veterinary lab was a difficult but necessary one, as the project was not fully funded.
He has promised to retain a veterinarian with aquatic experience in Townsville.
Katter's Australian Party Herbert candidate Bronwyn Walker, the spokeswoman for the Save Our Biosecurity Lab Group, said the solution for the aquaculture industry was unbelievable.
"Scientists are talking about future delays of two to three times the current turnaround time in the reporting of test results," she said.
"This will have a profound detrimental effect."
She said anyone involved in the agricultural industry should prepare now for a massive class action against the Government.
"I strongly suggest that graziers and aquaculture farmers keep their test records close and handy because there is absolutely no doubt about legal compensation claims in the future," she said.
In a statement, Mr McVeigh said while samples would need to be submitted to Brisbane for the full range of laboratory testing, any additional travel time would be minimal.
"Investigation and initial processing by a Townsville-based Biosecurity Queensland officer, with the necessary expertise, will ensure timely turnaround times for laboratory testing and reporting," he said.
"In the long term, these changes are expected to result in increased capacity for testing.
"New ways of doing testing and access to robotics at Coopers Plains could actually improve reporting."