Topics:  bovine johne's disease, state government, veterinary expert

Independent assessors appointed to review BJD response

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry John McVeigh said Brent Finlay and Professor Jonathon Hill would start their review next month and provide a final report by the end of April.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry John McVeigh said Brent Finlay and Professor Jonathon Hill would start their review next month and provide a final report by the end of April. Toni Somes

TWO independent advisors have been appointed to review the Queensland Government's response to bovine Johne's disease (BJD) and also offer expert advice on the future direction of the program.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry John McVeigh said Brent Finlay and Professor Jonathon Hill would start their review next month and provide a final report by the end of April.

The announcement comes after about 150 properties in Queensland, New South Wales and Northern Territory were identified as possibly infected with Bovine Johne's Disesase after a confirmed case in the Rockhampton region.

In November, it was confirmed that cattle from Rockley Brahmans at Bajool were infected with the disease, which causes chronic diarrhoea or ill-thrift in older stock, wasting and eventually death. The disease doesn't impact human health or the consumption of beef.

"Brent Finlay has been engaged for his industry knowledge and expertise while Jonathon Hill is a technical and veterinary expert," Mr McVeigh said.

"I am relying on them to provide an independent assessment of the response and then provide input into our future BJD response program. 

"Through the review I am hoping they can also identify possible actions Biosecurity Queensland may consider for any future disease eradication programs."

Mr McVeigh said when the BJD response began late last year, the government and industry agreed to work together to maintain the state's protected zone status and to eradicate BJD.

"Queensland's beef industry is worth more than $4.5 billion per year and our State's BJD protected status means Queensland has greater market access than other parts of Australia," he said.

"Eradicating BJD from affected properties continues to be our course of action until the response program is reviewed next month, after test results and other data are consolidated.

"We will be collectively reviewing the BJD response program and taking stock of how we are progressing and what we have achieved.

"Only then can we make an informed decision on the future direction."

For more information on BJD visit www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23.  Follow Biosecurity Queensland on Facebook and Twitter (@BiosecurityQld).

Snapshot of current BJD response:

  • The number of properties under movement restrictions for BJD has reduced to 73 from an initial 170 trace properties.
  • Testing is continuing with Biosecurity Queensland veterinary laboratories having so far received more than 5,300 samples from more than 2,900 animals from 80 properties.
  • The Premier recently announced the Queensland Cattle Industry Biosecurity Fund. This fund includes a $2 million grant and a loan of up to $3 million to be matched dollar-for-dollar by cattle producers through an industry levy.

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