Farmers and the road transport industry say they oppose transporters being brought into the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) legislation.

It is proposed that truck drivers will be severely penalised with fines if they transport animals that do not have NAIT tags, said Road Transport Forum (RTF) chief executive Nick Leggett.

"Yet truck drivers have no control over the NAIT tagging system, as getting those animals tagged is solely the responsibility of the farmers that raise them" Leggett told the Primary Production Select Committee at Parliament yesterday.

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"We accept that animals must be traced to ensure their lifetime movements can be monitored in the event of any disease outbreaks. But there have been long-standing problems with the NAIT system that cannot be fixed by punishing the people who drive trucks.

Under the legislation changes there would be $400 fines for transporting untagged animals said Leggett.

"Clearly, no untagged livestock should ever be presented for transport if the NAIT system was working properly.

"We strongly object to livestock transporters potentially being penalised for actions that are beyond their control."

Federated Farmers also addressed the Primary Production Select Committee, saying it did not support the transporter proposal.

Adding complexity to the existing NAIT system, or increasing the difficulty of the job that transporters already had would only further undermine trust in the system, Federated Farmers Meat and Wool spokesperson Miles Anderson said.

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"We see no value in transporters having to become the policeman.


Anderson said adding transporters to NAIT would complicate a system that was already "clunky and hard to navigate".

"We urge the government to enable NAIT to be implemented to achieve its purpose, support is far more effective than additional layers of complexity".

Meanwhile, Anderson said farmers recognised they had ultimate responsibility of stock traceability, and wanted NAIT to work, but there were concerns over its usability.

Those concerns included a lack of education on NAIT, along with the expensive technology required and the reliance on connectivity that often fails or is nonexistent in rural areas, said Anderson.

"Implementation and education on NAIT are lacking, we know a system that actually works would mitigate most of the non-compliance issues that currently exist in the NAIT system.

"We do not believe that farmers deliberately set out to be non-compliant, and our members have been very vocal of their concerns with the system".

"The NAIT system has recently been focused on improving usability, and we look forward to this continued approach with a healthy add-on of education and training on the ground, on farms, in the regions.

"We have had lots of discussion around rural connectivity and know it is a major issue, it is continually overlooked as an integral part of this system working, we raised this concern with the select committee."

The idea of the Crown owning NAIT data is something Feds' members also disagreed with said Anderson.

This raised a red flag as to why the Crown would want ownership, when current legislation allowed access to NAIT information in a transparent manner, said Anderson.