Cattle tick inspectors needed: MP

QUARANTINE stations on the Queensland border needed to be staffed by inspectors to slow the spread of cattle ticks, State Lismore MP Thomas George said yesterday.

Mr George said the current electronic surveillance system was not that effective, as four cattle properties west of Casino and three near Tweed were last week put under quarantine due to cattle tick infestations.

It takes the total number of affected farms in the region to 35 since October, which is higher than last year.

“I’m not advocating a back to the past policy, but Labor has continually wound back controls of ticks in NSW,” he said.

Electronic surveillance currently monitors cattle movements across the Queensland/NSW border, in addition to random inspections.

Industry and Investment NSW regional vet Paul Freeman said outbreaks in NSW, which must be notified to the Government, were between 60 and 80 per season.

“There are strict requirements about moving cattle between NSW and Queensland, where ticks are endemic,” he said.

Mr Freeman said the hot and humid weather conditions on the North Coast provided ideal hatching conditions for cattle ticks.

He urged farmers to be alert in monitoring their livestock and report any ticks they find.

“While cattle ticks can be found on cattle, horses and other grazing livestock anywhere in NSW at any time of year, stockowners in the north-east of NSW should be particularly vigilant, especially this time of year,” Mr Freeman said.

Ticks are a serious external parasite and can transmit tick fever, which may cause death in some cattle.

They can also damage expensive cattle hides.

Anyone illegally transporting livestock across the border can be fined $550.

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