“The government record on risk management inspires no confidence that it can handle the risk of mad cow disease entering Australia,” said The Nationals' Senator Ron Boswell.
“If the government receives 21 risk notices on home insulation before taking serious action, there is no hope they would act before the damage was done with mad cow contaminated beef imports.”
“Australia is one of the very few countries in the world that is BSE free. We depend on our image as clean, green and safe producers to build and keep export markets.”
“The Rudd government will not even do an Import Risk Analysis (IRA) which is standard for imported produce. But then this is not a government that understands or respects risk analysis.”
“If mad cow contaminated beef enters Australia, will we see the Agriculture Minister swearing that he never saw the risk report?”
“It will be too late for Australia by then.”
“You cannot rely on the Rudd government to look after serious matters seriously. Whether it's pink batts or mad cow disease from imported beef, if the Rudd government is in charge, it is dangerous for Australia.”
Senator Boswell said that the beef industry had invested heavily in protocols such as the National Livestock Identification Scheme which ensured traceability of any problem back to the property of origin.
“Australian beef producers are accountable all the way back to the paddock for their product but the Rudd government wants to let in beef from countries that do not have traceability.”
“Why should Australian producers have to meet stricter and more costly requirements than overseas producers?”
“In addition to traceable products and ingredients, Australian protocols for our beef exports ensure that 'there is sufficient identification and segregation during processing and storage to preclude mixing of product with different eligibility and inedible and condemned product. Inventory systems enable the eligibility of product to be verified. Access to inedible and condemned material is controlled.' [Relevant Guidelines for Exports (in addition to standard meat production guidelines)]”
“Yet the Rudd government is going to allow beef imports from countries that do not have the equivalent of our strict regimes and high standards. It will be impossible to police overseas producers who may have given mad cow disease contaminated meal to their stock.”
“The Cattle Council also called for traceability that delivers equivalency of outcome to the Australian system that is trace back and trace forward. We expect no more and no less.”
“This is not the equivalency of standards between overseas and Australian producers that the Cattle Council has called for.”
“The secrecy and haste of the decision to lower the bar for imported beef is a betrayal of beef producers who have not been widely consulted on its implications. I call on the government to postpone its decision so that this important issue can be given the serious attention it deserves.”