Legislative Council: Wednesday, September 27, 2023


Question Time

Electronic Identification Tags

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI (Leader of the Opposition) (14:22): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question to the Minister for Primary Industries regarding ultra high frequency electronic identification eartags.

Leave granted.

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI: A report by R&D group The Growth Drivers, in partnership with Meat & Livestock Australia and Integrity Systems Company, found that electronic IDs for livestock that use ultra high frequency technology can read 150 animals per second with high accuracy. There are lower prices for associated equipment due to market competition. Known as UHF tags, they also provide options for enhanced biosecurity strategies.

UHF is the fastest growing segment of RFID technology globally, with high competition. Approximately 90 per cent of global RFID investment is in UHF. UHF tags, readers and systems for livestock are in place and being trialled around the world: in Scotland, New Zealand, Kansas and parts of Asia. The primary commercial barrier to their uptake is incumbents hindering adoption and red tape, so this places Australia in an optimal position to utilise the technology going forward. My questions to the minister are:

1. Has the minister and her department sought advice from industry on the use of ultra high frequency electronic ID tags in the rollout of the mandatory sheep and goat eID program?

2. What has been the advice received from industry regarding these ultra high frequency electronic ID tags and their role in the rollout of the mandatory sheep and goat eID program?

3. Does the minister agree that it would be worth exploring the ultra high frequency technology, given the reported superiority of the tags in speed and accuracy?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:24): I thank the honourable member for her question. I am making the assumption that the question is in regard to the government's involvement in subsidising eID tags, as related in the announcement earlier this year of what the support package would be for stage 1 of the eID rollout.

With that in mind, the support package and subsidies for tags referred to the cost of essential tags, so, if you like, it's around what is needed to be able to ensure that we have the levels of traceability that are envisaged being achieved through eID. Tags need to be approved under the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS). Therefore, in terms of subsidies for tags, as long as they adhere to the NLIS they can be considered for that subsidy.