SOUTH Burnett cattle producers say ongoing problems with the management of ticks in Queensland will ultimately see the system fail, enabling government to walk away from managing the containment of the costly parasite.
That’s the shared opinion of Joe Jessen, Tingoora, Elton Hansen, Wondai, and Neil Labuschewski, Brooklands, Charlestown, who are adamant that ticks can be eradicated if there is the willingness of both producers and government.
Mr Jessen, who has been a long term, vocal opponent of the relaxation of cattle movements across the tick line, said he was convinced government was attempting to play down its tick management responsibilities.
If there is the willingness, ticks can be eradicated.
“You can’t help but have the feeling the Queensland government would be happy to see the tick line be the Victorian border, and let producers carry the entire burden of dealing with the parasite,” Mr Jessen said.
“What we really need is a serious commitment from government that the tick line is not only maintained, but also pushed back.
“If there is the willingness, ticks can be eradicated. That was proven when Queensland successfully shifted the tick line in the 1990s.
“What we have now is a system where too many producers are doing the wrong thing and the department is failing to take any action. The system just isn’t working because the Stock Act isn’t being fully enforced.”
Elton Hansen, Wondai, said the benefits of being tick free were almost incalculable. “It’s not just the cost of having ticks in terms of high cost of chemicals and vaccines, but just how much extra handling there is of ticky cattle,” Mr Hansen said.
“Then there is loss of productivity and even death of animals. What needs to be understood is that other producers are paying to keep us tick free.
“That is unfair.
“Every effort should be made to push the tick line back and take the burden off those producers.”
Neil Labuschewski, Brooklands, Charlestown, said the aim should be to eradicate ticks from Australia.
“The tick line should be the coast line of Australia,” Mr Labuschewski said.
“More immediately we should be making every effort to push the tick back.
“A line from Rockhampton to Emerald would be a good starting point.”
“That’s the sort of thinking we need to adopt if we are going to get rid of this problem rather than just living with it, and potentially allowing it to get away on us.”
Queensland’s risk-based cattle tick management framework was announced in July 2016 to provide greater flexibility for producers moving stock across the cattle tick line. Its advantages included reduced travel times and costs for industry.