Today I received a briefing from senior officials in the Department of Agriculture on the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in Indonesia, which has spread to Bali.
I asked questions of the people who are running Australia’s response to the outbreak, including about the measures being taken in Indonesia, at the border, and here in Australia.
An outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in Australia would be disastrous and heartbreaking for farmers. We know an outbreak could cost the country $80 billion over a decade, and the industry is crucial here in Indi. I am taking this threat incredibly seriously and listening closely to the Department, the National Farmers Federation and other stakeholders to ensure the appropriate actions are being taken by the Government.
Australia is taking a significant role in working to contain the outbreak in Indonesia, which is a vital part in reducing the risk to farms on our shores. I was reassured to hear about these actions, as well as the increased communication and screening with inbound passengers from Bali.
We also spoke about the actions we can all take to reduce the risk on our farms. Everyone working in and around farms must take responsibility for their own actions to mitigate the risks posed by this disease. It will take many months for this outbreak to be controlled, meaning we will need to manage this level of risk for some time.
It is recommended we all develop, revise or implement our own farm-level biosecurity plans, and to spread the message in our own communities about how important it is for travellers to take this seriously and declare everywhere they have been, and everything in their luggage.
I am keeping a close eye on this issue and I am committed to questioning Government, listening and reporting back to the community what I know.
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