Get Moving – Recording movements on the NLIS database

Bonnie Skinner, Manager Biosecurity & Extension, New South Wales

The reliability of our traceability system is dependent upon the accuracy and completeness of livestock identification and movement data. Producers and supply chain participants have a responsibility to ensure livestock movements are recorded promptly and correctly.

The National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) is Australia’s system for the identification and tracking of cattle, sheep and goats. From 1 February 2018, the NLIS will also incorporate pigs. Livestock are identified with a permanent device or tag and each time an animal is bought, sold or moved from one property (PIC) to another, a livestock movement must be recorded on the NLIS online database.

Why do we record livestock movements?

The NLIS enhances Australia’s capacity to trace livestock during food safety, product integrity and biosecurity incidents. Managing disease outbreaks requires quick detection, isolation and possible destruction of infected and high risk herds or flocks. Accurate and up-to-date livestock movement information allows the rapid tracing of animals and, in conjunction with movement records, helps government authorities understand where the disease may have originated from and spread to. This information greatly improves the chances of controlling the outbreak, minimising the costly effects on industry and its supporting sectors and enabling producers to return to market as quickly as possible if excluded.

Properties and livestock with electronic tags can be assigned individual statuses in the NLIS database. This may include information about exposure to certain health treatments (e.g. vaccines), contaminants (e.g. lead, chemical) and certain places of origin (imported cattle from countries with BSE). Statuses that indicate that certain livestock or properties may pose a biosecurity or food safety risk are reported to feedlots and processors to ensure affected animals are tested at slaughter.

In order to maintain a highly reliable system, all movements of cattle, sheep and goats must be recorded in the NLIS database within state legislated timeframes. Failure to record a movement may result in a fine being issued by the relevant state/territory NLIS authority. Extreme cases of non-compliance may also lead to criminal prosecution.

Who needs to record livestock movements?

The responsibility of ‘who’ completes the transfer on the NLIS database depends on where the livestock have been moved from and to. The persons responsible can include producers (including hobby farmers), saleyard owners or operators, livestock agents, abattoirs, feedlot operators, export depots, goat depots, and show or event organisers. Other NLIS account holders, livestock agents, or private contractors are also often authorised as third parties to complete transactions on behalf of producers.  All producers should get into the habit of regularly checking their NLIS account to ensure the movements of their livestock have been recorded and with the correct information. To register an online account visit www.nlis.com.au or contact the NLIS Helpdesk on 1800 654 743.

The following table provides common examples of livestock movements and who is responsible for recording this movement on the NLIS database. Most state and territory legislation requires that movement transactions be completed within two days of the livestock arriving onto the new property with a different PIC (see table). Livestock must also be accompanied by an accurately completed movement document. This can be a National Vendor Declaration (NVD), Waybill or Travelling Stock Statement (TSS) depending on the state or territory. Livestock sold through saleyards may also be accompanied by a Post-Sale Summary (PSS). For more information about what form of movement documentation is required in your State or Territory and how long these records must be legally retained for, contact your State/Territory NLIS authority.

Quick Guide – recording livestock movements on the NLIS database (cattle, sheep & goats)

Type of livestock movement Who records the movement NLIS movement document to accompany livestock Timeframe
Livestock movement from one PIC to another PIC (i.e. own property, leased or agistment property, goat depot, export depot, etc.) The receiver of the livestock at the destination propertya
  • NVD (VIC, TAS & all)
  • TSS (NSW unless NVD provided)
  • Waybill (QLD, WA, NT, SA unless NVD is provided)
NSW, QLD, VIC, SA, WA, NT: 2 days
TAS: 7 days
Livestock privately sold as a transaction between two parties

(i.e. between producers, direct to abattoir)

Buyer/receiver of livestockb (direct consignments to abattoir are completed by the abattoir)
  • NVD (VIC, TAS & all)
  • TSS (NSW unless NVD provided)
  • Waybill (QLD, WA, NT, SA unless NVD is provided)
NSW, QLD, VIC, SA, WA, NT: 2 days
TAS: 7 days
Livestock privately sold via auction

(i.e. on-farm breeder sales where livestock are sold by auction)

Owner of the PIC on which the sale is taking place records livestock movement to post-sale destination
  • NVD (VIC, TAS & all)
  • TSS (NSW unless NVD provided)
  • Waybill (QLD, WA, NT, SA unless NVD is provided)
NSW, QLD, VIC, SA, WA, NT: 2 days
TAS: 7 days
Livestock bought, sold or moved through a saleyard Saleyard records movement to saleyard PIC and to post-sale destination
  • NVD (VIC, TAS & all)
  • TSS (NSW unless NVD provided)
  • Waybill (QLD, WA, NT, SA)
  • PSS (all states)
NSW, QLD, VIC, SA, WA, NT: 2 days
TAS: 7 days
Livestock sold from saleyard to abattoir or knackery Saleyard owner or operator
  • NVD (VIC, TAS & all)
  • TSS (NSW unless NVD provided)
  • Waybill (QLD, WA, NT, SA)
  • PSS (all states)
All states: by close of business on sale day
Livestock being received at agricultural shows/campdrafts/ sporting and other events Event organiser
  • NVD (VIC, TAS & all)
  • TSS (NSW unless NVD provided)
  • Waybill (QLD, WA, NT, SA)
NSW, QLD, VIC, SA, WA, NT: 2 days
TAS: 7 days
Livestock die on-farm (other than abattoir/knackery) Owner of the livestock Not applicable Not mandated

a. Legally, the responsibility lies with the receiver to record the movement onto their PIC. However in some instances (such as agistment), if agreed to by both parties, the owner of the livestock can be supplied with the receiver’s PIC and they record the movement of their livestock off their property to the destination PIC.
b. The seller can do this on behalf of the buyer if negotiated

*Disclaimer: This information is true and correct as of 17/01/2018, however all producers are advised to contact their State/Territory NLIS authority prior to consigning any animals for travel.