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Annual Land and Stock Returns vital to North Coast region’s biosecurity

People visiting the Lismore Farmers MarketOver 25,000 land managers on the North Coast will be completing their Annual Land and Stock Returns to help build a state-wide biosecurity picture about agricultural use and livestock numbers.

This important process, being undertaken by Local Land Services involves more than 140,000 land managers across NSW in what is considered a 'census for livestock'.

Jo McGoldrick, Manager, Biosecurity and Emergency Services said, "Biosecurity is the protection of the economy, environment and community from negative impacts associated with pests, diseases and weeds.

"Biosecurity is a shared responsibility which involves a range of approaches, including preventing pests, diseases and weeds entry into NSW; quickly finding, containing and eradicating any new entries and effectively minimising the impacts of those pests, diseases and weeds that cannot be eradicated."

Along with the stock identification and traceability systems North Coast Local Land Services manages, the information is invaluable in the event of emergency disease outbreak, such as the recent North Coast Hendra Virus outbreak.

A recent report released by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) demonstrated the real value of Australia's world-class biosecurity system at up to $17,500 a year for the average farmer.

"The absence of major pests and diseases provides agricultural industries with a significant trade advantage and is important for maintaining access to valuable export markets," Jo McGoldrick, Manager Biosecurity and Emergency Services said.

Just how much money the system saves farmers was analysed in the report "The value of Australia's biosecurity system at the farm gate: an analysis of avoided trade and on-farm impacts".

The report considered the effect on farm enterprise profits of an outbreak of six potentially significant biosecurity threats to Australian agriculture, including foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), Mexican feather grass, citrus greening, highly pathogenic avian influenza and Karnal bunt.  

The Biosecurity team at North Coast Local Land Services work locally across the North Coast with members of the community who can be very effective 'eyes and ears' with respect to the detection of biosecurity incursions.

Jo continued, "We ask members of the community to be aware of, and manage, biosecurity risks where they occur on their land (for example, by controlling weeds), in their animals or plants, or in waterways, coastal waters and other shared spaces such as public land."

Landholders are asked to contact North Coast Local Land Services and quickly report significant or unusual pests, diseases and weeds and to participate in community programs that build resilience in the natural environment and help reduce the risks from pests, diseases and weeds.

Land managers have until 31 August to complete their Return and are encouraged to lodge them online at the Local Land Services website. It is important to complete an Annual Land and Stock Return even if land managers have no stock. If the Annual Land and Stock Return isn't lodged by August 31, an animal health rate and meat industry levy is automatically applied to next year's rates notice.

For more information land managers should contact their nearest Local Land Services office on 1300 795 299 or visit

Media contact for Biosecurity enquiries:  
Jo McGoldrick, Manager Biosecurity and Emergency Services Phone 0407 121 265

Media contact for Annual Land and Stock Return Administration enquiries:
Grant Lewis, Manager Business and Finance Phone: 6659 9444


Photo caption:           The agricultural industry of the North Coast region is worth protecting.