Joint media release: NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW
11 Jul 2022
Travellers holidaying in Bali are being urged to do their bit to prevent the highly contagious Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) from reaching Australian shores and devastating our $28.7 billion livestock industry.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said the impact of an FMD outbreak in Australia would be disastrous for the livestock sector, the economy and regional communities.
“We have kept Australia FMD free for more than 130 years, but it is now on our doorstep and we all have a role to play to keep our industry safe,” Mr Toole said.
“The message to travellers is simple: if you’re heading to Bali or somewhere that may have been affected by FMD for a holiday – or know someone who is – please do the right thing when you return to Australia. That means declaring where you’ve been, making sure any clothes and shoes you bring in are clean and free from soil and manure, avoiding encounters with livestock on your travels and staying away from farms or anywhere there might be livestock for seven days when you get home.
“Now is not the time for complacency – one dirty pair of shoes could devastate an entire industry.”
Mr Toole said the NSW Government welcomed moves by the Commonwealth to increase biosecurity measures on incoming flights from Indonesia but was keen to see biosecurity ramped up further.
“We’ve put a number of ideas on the table, including increased luggage screening, the decontamination of equipment and shoes for all returning travellers from high-risk parts of Indonesia, more detector dogs at Sydney International Airport, and a targeted advertising campaign that urges travellers to avoid contact with NSW livestock and facilities for five to seven days upon their return.
“We all need to work together – governments, industry and the community – to keep Australia FMD-free.”
Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders said the NSW Government has been working hard to bolster biosecurity to keep the agricultural sector safe, with record investment to drive active surveillance, rapid diagnostics and effective traceability systems to monitor, track and respond to threats.
“Biosecurity has been my top priority since becoming Agriculture Minister,” Mr Saunders said.
“An incursion of Foot and Mouth Disease would have severe consequences for Australia’s animal health and trade. Significant economic losses would be felt, with restrictions being placed on both domestic and international markets for live animals, meat and animal products.
“An uncontrolled outbreak could lead to the immediate closure of our meat export markets, and control costs have been estimated at more than $80 billion.”
Mr Saunders said while Australia has an internationally recognised capability to deal quickly and effectively with emergency animal disease outbreaks – including the large outbreak of equine influenza in 2007 and the outbreaks of avian influenza in 2012 and 2013 – primary producers must know what to be on the lookout for when it comes to protecting their livestock.
“We’re encouraging primary producers to engage in detailed contingency planning, to be overly cautious with people who come into contact with their livestock and monitor closely for signs of FMD which include blisters in and around the mouth area, drooling and limping,” he said.
“I have requested the Department of Primary Industries and Local Land Services ramp up their work with farmers to recognise the signs of Foot and Mouth Disease in their stock.
“If livestock exhibit any unusual signs consistent with FMD, they must be reported immediately to the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.”
FMD affects all cloven-hoofed animals including cattle, sheep, goats, deer and pigs. It can be carried by live animals as well as in residual soil left on shoes, clothing and equipment.
Media contact: Ella Smith for Deputy Premier, 0428 745 348 or Sally Taylor for Minister Saunders, 0428 149 401