Subsidies for Mandatory Electronic Tagging – The Current State of Play Across Australia

Everyone’s talking about it, but hardly anyone can give definitive answers!

I’ve had my ear to the ground following the announcement of mandatory EIDs across Australia, and have been waiting for each State to finalise their plans before reaching out to you all.

Whilst there are more announcements to come and some finer details to work out, we are currently fielding dozens of questions per week on this topic, so I thought it a good opportunity to share my information and knowledge on the matter so far.

Please Note: All information shared below is not ‘set in stone’ and your relevant government body should be contacted to confirm any details. The information shared here is a combination of what I have heard within my network as well as conducting my own research using the information publicly available.

As a rule of thumb when educating yourself on the Mandatory EID requirements, it’s important to remember that:

  • Each state is different, so be careful where you get the information from
  • Not all tags will be subsidised, and in some States no tags will be
  • In States where tag subsidies do exist, they will most likely backdate purchases to the start of the 2023 calendar year
  • Not all tag colours are subsidised
  • Some States are enforcing tagging conventions

What are the National Mandatory Guidelines?

The national mandatory guideline is that any sheep or farmed goat born after the 1st January 2025 is to be tagged with an electronic NLIS tag before leaving the property. Every State is lobbying the Federal Government for funding – some with more success than others – and some State governments are announcing rebates while others are not.

The goal of most States is to announce and secure funding for the tag purchases to be $1 or less per tag. It is up to each individual State to create their own implementation plan around the 1st January 2025 deadline, with the overall goal to have every sheep and goat tagged before leaving the property by 1st January 2027.

No Federal Budget has been announced for a reduction in tag pricing or subsidies for infrastructure (such as stick readers, autodrafters etc), and again, this will be up to each State Government with the Federal Government potentially chipping in on a case-by -case basis.

For more information on the National Implementation Plan visit this website.

Let’s take a further look at what we know about the Mandatory EID requirements by State.

Australian Capital Territory (ACT):

The ACT State Government has confirmed that there will be a hard cut-off of 1st January 2025 whereby all sheep and farmed goats must be tagged before leaving the property. No subsidies for tag purchases have been announced as yet, and no tagging conventions have been enforced.

New South Wales (NSW):

There will be a rolling start to mandatory EIDs from 1st January 2025 for any animal born after this date, and a hard cut-off of 1st January 2027 for all animals to leave the property appropriately tagged. 

An announcement has just been made (as of 19th July 2023) that a significant $38 million in joint State-Federal funding has now been announced. Read this Media Release from NSW Farmers and keep yourself informed with their newsletter and other relevant information here.

Now, the caveat for this funding is it is an ‘infrastructure investment rebate’, with the keyword there being infrastructure. The initial funding will be for saleyards and processors before becoming available for farmers after a couple months.

This seems a bit tricky at first sight, as there is no tag subsidy announced, and the infrastructure is for technology to adhere to traceability rules. For a farmer, it is the responsibility of the buyer to lodge animal movements, so if you are running a self replacing flock or a closed flock, there is actually no infrastructure you need to adhere to traceability. It will be interesting to see what this ‘infrastructure’ banner will entail.

No tagging conventions have been announced yet, and I do know there are stakeholders in senior positions pushing to continue allowing freedom of choice with tagging conventions.

Queensland (QLD):

There will be a rolling start to mandatory EIDs from 1st January 2025 for any animal born after this date, and a hard cut-off of 1st January 2027 for all animals to leave the property appropriately tagged. 

No subsidies or budgets have been announced at this stage. There have also not been any tagging conventions announced as yet, but if I was a betting man I’d predict that they’ll adhere to the current requirement for visual tags:

  • A coloured tag corresponding to the animal’s year of birth must be fitted to sheep and goats before the animal is moved off its property of birth.
  • Once fitted, a tag must remain on the animal for life.
  • If a tag is removed or falls off, it must be replaced with a pink ‘post-breeder’ tag

The QLD State Government has not yet provided much publicly available information or updates on the mandatory rollout requirements, but we will continue to monitor and share information as it becomes available.

South Australia (SA):

There will be a rolling start to mandatory EIDs from 1st January 2025 for any animal born after this date, and a hard cut-off of 1st January 2027 for all animals to leave the property appropriately tagged.

The SA State Government has committed $9.3million in an initial funding phase, and are currently working on Phase 2 funding (which is a relief as $9.3million will disappear very quickly!).

A 50% rebate for tags has been announced, with a retrospective reimbursement for any tags purchased from 2023 (this will most likely be applied only for sheep that are still alive after 1st January 2027). How they will police this to accurately provide the rebates is yet to be seen.

The SA State Government has also committed to a 75% rebate for sale yards and processors, and potentially on farm infrastructure. Again, similar to the NSW update (see above) the vagueness of the word ‘infrastructure’ comes into play here. 

Livestock SA is working with PIRSA right now to develop the programs on how to apply the funding. I am currently working on securing a spot on the Advisory Board and will continue to share updates.

No tagging conventions have been announced yet.

Tasmania (TAS):

The Tasmanian State Government has not made any commitments towards funding, nor have they announced a plan to meet the 1st January 2025 deadline as yet. My assumption is that they may be waiting to see how the other States finalise their implementation plans and proposed funding, and then finalising their own plan based on the State that produces a good result for all involved.

Western Australia (WA):

The WA State Government has implemented a strict policy to adhere to the National requirements, with a deadline of 1st January 2025 for all sheep and farmed goats leaving the property to be EID tagged.

Only rebates for sky blue tags have been announced so far ($0.75 per tag rebate), with an extension to the end of the 2023 calendar year. The WA tag rebate scheme does not enable repayment of subsidies for tags purchased before the subsidy announcement date which was around the 25th of March.

There will be a tagging convention enforced, whereby animals must be tagged with the tag colour corresponding to their year of birth, which adds complexity and an enforced change to the way a lot of people currently tag.

You can stay up to date with the WA State requirements at this website.

Victoria (VIC):

Business as usual, with EID tags still subsidised for the foreseeable future.

Did you know we offer EID Tags?

BreedELITE provides EID tags Australia-wide including:

  • Shearwell
  • Ztags/Datamars
  • Allflex

We offer industry leading tag prices, and can often secure cheaper pricing in addition to subsidies already provided by the Government.
Reach out to find out more or call on (08) 8382 4565.