Media Release

Have your say: traceability key to foot and mouth disease preparedness

11 October 2013

Australia’s Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce, today urged farmers and others involved in the livestock industry to have a say during the consultation phase of a plan to extend National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) traceability to sheep and goats.

Mr Joyce launched the consultation at the same time as he launched the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) report, ‘Potential socio-economic impacts of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Australia’.

“The latest figures generated by ABARES about the impact of a foot and mouth (FMD) outbreak in Australia shows far greater and longer lasting effects than previously thought with a significant outbreak expected to cost Australia, and especially regional and rural communities, about $50 billion over 10 years.

“To put that figure in perspective, it is more than Australia’s total gross value of farm production currently worth $47 billion a year.

“FMD is the biggest disease threat to our livestock industries – and to the livelihoods of the people who sustain those industries.

“Whilst Australia has strong systems to stop FMD arriving and good preparation to stamp it out, if it were to make it here, we can always look to strengthen our defences.

“That’s why I am launching this report at the same time as the consultation period because we know that if we can trace the source of an outbreak quickly and efficiently we can stamp it out faster and re-establish community confidence and trade sooner.

“We need to look at whether extending the NLIS will give our farmers the best ‘insurance’ against the devastation an FMD outbreak could cause to our agricultural communities and industries.

“We don’t all expect floods or fires to impact on our families and property – but we do insure against them. That said –I’m aware that extending the NLIS could come at a cost – an impost I want to better understand,” Mr Joyce said.

“This consultation is the beginning – not the end of the process – and the Standing Council on Primary Industries (SCoPI) will consider the final Regulation Impact Statement that will be informed by the consultation feedback before any decision is made,” Mr Joyce.

The ABARES FMD report can be found on the Department of Agriculture website.

Please have your say on livestock identification and traceability by going to www.daff.gov.au/nlis.