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Press Release – NLIS

Banks to use NLIS to spy on cattle producers – ABA calls on Minister Joyce to intervene.

Meat and Livestock Australia has admitted it has commissioned consultants to develop a system that allows financial institutions to automatically access producers’, lot feeders’ and processors’ NLIS accounts to monitor livestock transactions.

The admission was made to former Australian Beef Association Director, John Carter.

It would seem MLA/NLIS is seeking to develop a user-pay system that automatically notifies a financial institution when stock are moved onto or off an NLIS Account/PIC – for purchase, sale or slaughter. Prospective users of the service are banks, stock and station agencies and any other party, such as an investor, prepared to pay for the service.

“This is an outrageous abuse of trust by MLA,” Australian Beef Association Director Brad Bellinger said.

“NLIS was imposed on cattle producers on the understanding it was needed for market access and bio-security.

“NLIS costs producers $50million per year and it is now being sold by MLA to banks to spy on us.”

“MLA’s deployment of this spying system for profit, when many cattle producers are facing unprecedented climatic and debt pressures, is little more than commercial treachery,” Mr Bellinger said.

MLA/NLIS have not disclosed how much they will charge banks and others for this service. MLA has not disclosed if it has already sold this service to any private or government organisations or made data available to the ATO or Centrelink.

“Cattle producers are the primary stakeholders in NLIS. We should have been consulted before any action was taken to ‘sell’ our cattle information for profit.

“MLA’s secrecy and deceitfulness in this matter is shameful,” Mr Bellinger said.

Mr Bellinger called on the Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce to take decisive action.

“The MLA bureaucracy is out of control and Cattle Council has no idea.”

“Selling NLIS data is just another MLA stuff-up. MLA has spent more than $1.5 billion and just stood-by while cattle prices have declined more than 30% in real terms while farm debt has ballooned to unmanageable levels.

“Minister Joyce inherited the CCA/MLA bureaucracy. It was created and overseen by previous Ministers for Agriculture and it exists at the behest of the Minister – not its stakeholders.

“During the election, the Government promised bureaucratic reform.

“Minister Joyce, beef producers call on you to take immediate action to restore integrity and accountability to these organisations,” Mr Bellinger said.

Media Contact: Brad Bellinger: 02 6725 4282

ABOUT NLIS

The National Livestock Identification Scheme (NLIS) is overseen

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by NLIS Ltd a wholly owned subsidiary of Meat and Livestock Australia.

ASIC records show the directors of NLIS Ltd are: John Wyld, Peter Milne, Ian Feldtmann, Stephen Kelly, Geoffrey Maynard and the Secretary is Rachel Debek.

Geoffrey Maynard is a Director of MLA and Rachel Debek is MLA Company Secretary.

NLIS Terms of Use state:

1.3.3 As at the date of publication, NLIS Ltd is the Administrator. It manages and administers the (NLIS) Database and provides technical and generic information and materials to the meat and livestock industry in connection with the Database. It also licenses the manufacture of Devices (Radio Frequency tags).

From www.mla.com.au (Underlines added)

National Livestock Identification System

The ability to trace livestock from property of birth to slaughter iscrucial to the safety of red meat.

The Australian red meat industry has implemented a national system to ensure the quality and safety of beef, lamb, sheepmeat and goatmeat.

The National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) is Australia’s system for identification and traceability of livestock. It was introduced in 1999 to enhance Australia’s ability to track cattle during disease and food incidents. Since then it has expanded to enable not only cattle, but also sheep and goats to be traced from property of birth to slaughter for:

Biosecurity

Meat safety

Product integrity

Market access

NLIS is endorsed by major producer, feedlot, agent, saleyard and processor bodies. In addition to this it is underpinned by State/Territory legislation, which forms the regulatory framework for the system.

NLIS Ltd operates the central NLIS Database on which the livestock movements must be recorded. State/Territory NLIS authorities provide information on:

Property Identification Codes (PIC).

Ordering NLIS devices imprinted with your PIC.

NLIS regulations for cattle, sheep and goats.

Brad Bellinger: 02 6725 4282
David Byard: 0409 426 710

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