Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Reflecting on Life with the DPI; Goodwin Retires after 30 Years as Stock Inspector

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Reflecting on Life with the DPI; Goodwin Retires after 30 Years as Stock Inspector

Article excerpt

Toni Somes


WHEN former Warwick stock inspector (he never really got used to the unwieldy title of biosecurity officer) Lindsay Goodwin retired a month ago, he took with him three decades of hands-on experience.

Across the region, 12 of his colleagues also accepted voluntary redundancy packages being offered to DEEDI staff.

C[pounds sterling]We had a little party at Kingaroy because a dozen of us stockies were leaving and we worked out between us we had 425 years of practical experience,C[yen] Mr Goodwin said.

C[pounds sterling]The department will never get that back.C[yen]

But he doesn't regret leaving.

He said a subtle shift in his job description meant he went from being C[pounds sterling]the fella local cattle blokes would call if they had a problemC[yen] to C[pounds sterling]the last bloke they wanted to see pull up at the yardsC[yen].

C[pounds sterling]To be honest, they all still talked to me around here and I was lucky,C[yen] Mr Goodwin said.

C[pounds sterling]But, as stock inspectors, we'd gone from being there to encourage and advise people to being rule enforcers and prosecutors.C[yen]

It is an ideology that sat uneasily with the down-to-earth local.

C[pounds sterling]I still believe the best way to get people to do the right thing is to teach and show them.C[yen]

So it wasn't hard for him to accept the government payout when it was offered late last year.

Yet even though he has left his Fitzroy St office Co and lost 5kg and felt more relaxed than he has in a decade Co he still worries about the implications for Queensland agriculture.

C[pounds sterling]Since I started here 20 years ago they have closed downs 20 centres,C[yen] Mr Goodwin said.

In the 1980s he said there were four stock inspectors in Warwick, two in Goondiwindi and one each at Killarney, Clifton, Pittsworth and Inglewood.

Today he explains there are just two biosecurity officers based in Warwick doing the work and covering the area of 10.

C[pounds sterling]Yes, I wonder how they would cope if we had outbreak of something like EI again,C[yen] Mr Goodwin said.

C[pounds sterling]They certainly don't have enough experienced people on the ground.

C[pounds sterling]When I started everyone up the ladder had had practical experience; they'd worked their way up.

C[pounds sterling]I knew everyone up to the Minister and they respected the input of people who working out in the field.

C[pounds sterling]It is not the case now but, I guess if the worst happens, the department can always bring in experts from interstate or overseas.C[yen]

But while agriculture felt the loss, reducing the number of regional stock inspectors also impacted on communities as whole families left the bush.

C[pounds sterling]It's left a gap, that is for sure. …

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