Foot and mouth disease precautions ramp up
The Albanese Government has ramped up tough biosecurity measures at the Australian border, in response to confirmation that foot and mouth disease (FMD) has reached Bali.
Following official confirmation from Indonesian authorities yesterday that FMD had spread to Bali, new measures were immediately imposed to protect Australia’s livestock industry from this threat.
These new measures build on additional measures the Government had already put in place when the Indonesian outbreak first began. These existing strengthened measures include new targeted operations at major airports servicing travel from Indonesia to check a wider range of passengers who could be contaminated with FMD or be carrying contaminated goods and assessment of all passengers on flights from Indonesia, with high risk passengers identified for intervention.
New measures being taken or introduced include:
- The location of biosecurity detector dogs in Darwin and Cairns Airports,
- Additional signage and the distribution of flyers at major airports, informing travellers of FMD risk and precautions,
- Expanded social media campaigns, informing travellers of their biosecurity responsibilities,
- Additional training of airport biosecurity staff,
- Enhancement of mail profiling and inspections, and
- Additional measures, including boarding by biosecurity officers on arriving flights from Indonesia, will begin in coming days.
Australian biosecurity—and particularly the threat posed by FMD—is a top priority, and high level discussions have been occurring on an ongoing basis, between Australian and Indonesian authorities, as well as with local industry.
I have received regular briefings about this issue since becoming Minister and yesterday I sought and received another urgent briefing about the latest developments from Australian Director of Biosecurity Andrew Metcalfe AO, the Australian Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Mark Schipp, and head of the National Animal Disease Taskforce at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Dr Chris Parker.
There are also well-established plans in place should FMD be detected in Australia, including an FMD vaccine bank.
Indonesia will have the support of the Albanese Government in responding to their FMD outbreak.
During his recent visit to Indonesia, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese committed Australian support, including vaccines and technical expertise, to respond to the recent outbreak of FMD. Indonesia has accepted Australia’s offer and we are progressing that support as a matter of urgency.
Biosecurity is a shared responsibility, and it is crucial that every traveller returning to Australia from areas affected by FMD follows the biosecurity instructions we have in place at the border.
High risk materials cannot be brought into the country, including contaminated equipment or clothing, animals or animal products, such as meat products and cheese.
For more information on FMD visit: www.agriculture.gov.au/footandmouthdisease