A Tweed Valley cattle producer has warned of dire consequences for the NSW cattle industry after the state government shut a cattle tick spray yard treating livestock travelling south across the Queensland border.

Key points:

  • The cattle industry is concerned over the closure of a livestock treatment facility in southern Queensland
  • Ticks could cost the industry $30m per year if they become endemic in NSW
  • A NSW cattle producer wants a new facility opened in northern NSW to protect cattle herds

The Kirra livestock treatment facility on the Gold Coast, leased and operated by the NSW Department of Primary Industries, shut last month after more than 50 years. It followed the closure of the Mount Lindesay facility on the Queensland border. 

Combined Tweed Rural Industries Association president Colin Brooks said the industry was not consulted on the closure and no reason was given at a meeting held only a month prior to announcing the decision, but he suspected it was financial. 

“There were problems with the Kirra ‘spray race’ because it was in Queensland, in a housing area, but we’re concerned though that it’s not being replaced somewhere just over the border in NSW,” he said. 

The facility treated any animal capable of transporting the external parasite from tick-infested areas of Queensland. These included donkeys and alpacas, as well as cattle and horses. 

Colin Brook wearing a check shirt on his property.

Combined Tweed Rural Industries Association president Colin Brooks wants the NSW government to open a new facility on the NSW side of the border after it shut down the one at Kirra on the Gold Coast.(

Supplied

)

The Kynnumboon farmer is concerned the removal of the spray race could have dire consequences for the cattle industry. 

“The alternative that’s being offered is that if you do cross into Queensland or you do want to come out of Queensland with cattle or horses, mainly, then you will have to source an accredited Queensland DPI person to do the spraying.”

Cattle tick spray yards.

The NSW government shut down the Kirra Livestock Treatment Facility in July 2021.(

ABC North Coast: Donna Harper

)

Mr Brooks said the nearest facility was at Beaudesert in the Scenic Rim region of Queensland, 80 km north-west of Kirra. 

“The cost at the Kirra spray race used to be $5.50 per head, the horse people at this meeting say that they’re being charged anywhere from $130 to $150 per head by these private accredited operators in Queensland to spray their horses,” he said.

A close-up of a cattle tick on a man's finger

If cattle tick became endemic in New South Wales it could cost the cattle industry $30 million per year.(

Supplied: NSW DPI

)

If cattle tick — which carries the deadly tick fever — becomes endemic in NSW, the state’s Department of Primary Industries estimates it could cost the cattle industry $30 million per year.

The NSW Cattle Tick Program was established in 1920 to keep the state cattle tick free by detecting and eradicating infestations.

Mr Brooks said the spray facility was a vital part of protecting beef and dairy herds in NSW from the devastating disease. 

“It’s pretty serious and it means that 100 years of effort by a relatively small group of farmers up here along the border with Queensland is just going to be all to no avail. It’s just going to be an absolute waste,” he said. 

“What we want is for an alternative facility in NSW, so that these animals that have been brought across the border, if they have not been satisfactorily treated in Queensland, can still be treated before they’re let loose in NSW.”

Mr Brooks said he had written to the NSW Minister for Agriculture, Adam Marshall, several times since mid-June with his concerns and was yet to receive a response.

The ABC has also contacted Mr Marshall for comment. 

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Ticked Off: Cracking the code for a cattle tick vaccine(Halina Baczkowski)

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Cattle tick facility closes as producers warn of dire consequences
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