Any occurrence of Foot and Mouth Disease in Australia would be devastating for farmers, the wider livestock industry, and its effects would be broadly felt. The outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in Indonesia, including in Bali, poses a massive risk to our livestock industry. I can’t overstate how serious this situation is.
I know many of you feel this way too, contacting my office to share your concern at the Government’s response at our borders. As a beef farmer, I share your anxieties and concerns – we must make sure everything is done to keep this out of Australia. The Government must spend every dollar needed, take all the necessary measures. I hear you.
Yesterday, along with many MPs, I attended a briefing conducted by the Agriculture Minister, Chief Veterinary Officer and other officials in charge of Australia’s response to the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease and Lumpy Skin Disease in Indonesia.
It was an example of how Parliament can work together, with members from all sides of politics – Independents, Nationals, Liberals and Labor, country and city, all united in one position – we don’t want Foot and Mouth Disease to enter Australia under any circumstances.
Government officials were told the communication with farmers is just not good enough and must be greatly improved. The messages to travellers entering Australia from Bali about the risks of Foot and Mouth Disease, the severity of the situation, and the actions they must take to keep our country safe, must be much more clear.
There is always more that can be done, not just on our borders, but on the ground in Australia. We are reviewing our biosecurity plan on our farm, and I encourage you to do so too. I’m also committed to keeping the pressure on the Government to make sure they don’t drop the ball on this one.
The Minister committed to better communication with farmers, including through webinars with Government officials. I will keep you updated with information as it comes to hand.
The Victorian Farmers Federation has already held a webinar and a recording can be viewed here: https://www.vff.org.au/foot-and-mouth-disease-webinar-catchup-recording-and-resources/?fbclid=IwAR33mJ4wQ6dBLf-uY3FeqgEXBQVUC97g3W03SV2xgv3_7h9B5G1uvN2NBiE
Information on the Government response is here: https://www.agriculture.gov.au/biosecurity-trade/pests-diseases-weeds/animal/fmd
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