Members of the SA's sheep and goat industry are being encouraged to put their hand up to guide the future of a traceability system in SA.
Livestock SA is calling for expressions of interest for individuals to join a Sheep Traceability Project Steering Committee to advise it whether changes to the current mob-based movement system are appropriate and the best way forward if a mandatory electronic identification system was to be adopted.
The committee will include representatives from government as well as producers, processors, livestock agents, saleyard operators and livestock transporters.
Livestock SA's stance has been to encourage voluntary eID uptake but chief executive officer Travis Tobin says it is a matter of when not if a nationwide eID system is mandated for sheep and goats.
He says there is an expectation from markets, government and regulatory bodies to accurately trace livestock through the supply chain.
"Sheep Producers Australia and Wool Producers Australia have been talking for a long time with Cattle Council of Australia about all red meat species aligning with mandatory eID," he said.
"In 2016 the Sheep Catcher II Exercise found the current traceability system for sheep and goats fell well short of the National Livestock Traceability Performance Standards."
Mr Tobin said this could have dire consequences in an emergency disease outbreak in SA.
It was important that the industry was proactive in having a system that could quickly trace and contain any outbreak, especially with Foot & Mouth Disease and Lumpy Skin Disease threatening Australia's borders, he said.
"Seventy per cent of our trade is export so if any producer is not concerned about the loss of markets or length of time we would be locked out of these markets they need to consider what their business is," he said.
Mr Tobin said some work had already been undertaken on costing implementation, based on the Vic experience where eID was mandated in January 2017, but he said the steering committee would look at the costs and specific "pinch points"
He said the committee would be a reasonably large group to capture industry and government.
"We are looking for a range of views but we want people who understand how things work, we are looking for them to complete a short expression of interest to ensure we have the right people," he said.
PIRSA's Red Meat & Wool Growth program has provided $140,000 in funding for the project and the SA Sheep Industry Fund will contribute a further $15,000.
A consultant will be appointed to create a business case for sheep eID for SA which should be completed by the end of the year.
Then an eID implementation plan based on the business case, including timeframes for a roll out would be completed in 2023.
"If the decision is made voluntarily or if it is done to us it is important we find the most effective way to do this and for producers and the whole supply chain to have a traceability system that is fit for purpose," Mr Tobin said.
Interested individuals are encouraged to contact Livestock SA for a copy of the committee's terms of reference and an EOI form. This must be completed by the close of business on Monday, July 18.
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