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The National Biosecurity Committee’s (NBC) recent proposal, approved by all agricultural ministers on 9 September 2022, marks a significant shift in Australia’s approach to livestock traceability. From 1 January 2025, it will be mandatory for all sheep and goats born in Australia to be tagged with an electronic identification (eID) Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) device.
To facilitate the transition to this more advanced, but also more expensive system, the government has allocated $20.4 million in the 2022-2023 budget to assist farmers. An additional investment of $26.6 million has been committed to upgrading database systems to enhance traceability capabilities.
Under this new arrangement, animal traceback can be accomplished within minutes – a major improvement from the several days currently required with the visual tagging system. The implementation of eID devices allows for more precise tracking, enabling individual animals to be traced rather than just mobs or consignments.
Despite the challenges associated with any major shift, the transition to the eID system holds significant promise. The new system is aimed at elevating Australia’s traceability and biosecurity to a new level. Yes, there are associated costs, such as the new eID devices, equipment upgrades, system capability enhancements and necessary upskilling across the supply chain. However, these investments are steppingstones towards a more secure and efficient future for Australia’s livestock Industries.
At Animal Health Australia (AHA) our position centres on strengthening the traceability system for sheep and goats in Australia. We also aim to facilitate a smooth transition for producers by providing timely and relevant information about deadlines, costs, and the necessity of this transition. As we approach the January 2025 deadline, we remain committed to providing producers with practical advice and important updates to help them prepare for the changes ahead.