Any mandate requiring producers to tag rangeland goats would see some exit the industry permanently.
This is the message Pastoralists' Association of West Darling (PAWD) councillor Lachlan Gall wants to make sure the NSW government clearly understands when it finalises its plan on electronic identification (eID) tags for sheep and goats.
It comes after Agriculture Minister Dugald Saunders did a backflip on his decision over exemptions for rangeland goats for the roll out of eID tags in NSW.
Mr Gall said the association had been advocating for the adoption of tag-free movement options for sheep and goats in certain circumstances since the decision to adopt eID was announced six months ago.
Earlier in 2022, the association issued a standing invitation to Mr Saunders and anyone in favour of tagging of rangeland goats to come and have a go at tagging goats in a real-life situation in far west NSW.
To date no one has accepted.
But it wasn't until a meeting in Bourke where Mr Saunders was met by angry western producers that their message was finally heard.
"The subsequent change of direction by the Minister in regard to rangeland goats comes as a relief, as compulsory electronic tagging would be a major blow to the rangeland goat industry in NSW," Mr Gall said.
He said if it was not for the association working behind the scenes very few people would have known about the meeting as advertising was limited.
"The selection of Bourke as a venue when the region is affected by once-in-a-generation flooding of the Darling River (and Dubbo for the subsequent meeting when everyone is flat out with harvest), in association with a requirement to register online beforehand, seemed to be designed to limit attendance," he said.
"Stakeholders from the Broken Hill area were faced with a round trip of over 1200 kilometres to Bourke via Cobar, which is too far to expect people to travel for a two hour meeting."
He said the association was hopeful Mr Saunders would accept PAWD's invitation to meet in Broken Hill, and it would be an opportunity to hold a public meeting at the same time.
"The lack of opportunities for producers to come together and discuss what are major, permanent, expensive and potentially unnecessary changes to sheep and goat production in NSW is disappointing, frustrating and unacceptable," he said.
"Face-to-face meetings with producers at multiple locations across NSW would go a long way towards addressing what to date has been a monumental failure in terms of conducting proper consultation."
Mr Gall said the value of goatmeat had fallen by 60 per cent in the past six months and any recovery was looking to be a "long way off".
"The rangeland goat industry doesn't need additional obligations that would be costly, difficult and dangerous to comply with and offer no real traceability improvements over the existing mob-based system," he said.
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