National Farmers' Federation

NFF welcomes biosecurity ramp-up as FMD risk intensifies

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has welcomed the Federal Government’s new biosecurity measures announced today following the spread of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) to Australian tourist hotspot, Bali.

NFF President Fiona Simson said farmers were pleased to see additional measures put in place.

“Ever since FMD was detected in Bali our industry has been on edge given the growing volumes of traffic between our countries. We are relieved to see the government respond to calls by industry to ramp up biosecurity through detector dogs, greater communications material for travellers, and further biosecurity staff training,” Ms Simson said.

“We are pleased Minister Watt is listening and taking this matter seriously, and acting appropriately to protect Australian shores from this potentially devastating disease.”

However, Ms Simson said the government should continue to review these settings as the situation evolves.

“We now need the Government to continually review whether these measures go far enough, and consider the appropriateness of screening all incoming arrivals from high risk areas.

“We may need to move to questioning each person to determine the need for a biosecurity inspection, or simply sending each person for an inspection.

“We would also like to see an increase in frontline biosecurity officers at return airports and ongoing reviews into the appropriateness of additional intervention methods such as footbaths.

“We all know prevention is far better than cure, and we want to leave no stone unturned in the fight to keep FMD off our shores.

“CSIRO modelling shows that if FMD were to arrive in Australia the fallout could be enormous, costing our economy up to $80 billion and damaging our clean, green reputation,” Ms Simson said.

“This is our shared responsibility, across industry, government and the community to implement barriers and know what we can do as individuals to prevent an incursion.

“This threat, as well as the recent incursion of varroa mite in NSW, again highlights our call for a long-term, sustainable biosecurity funding pipeline”.”

Ms Simson said it was also important the government continued to support Indonesia’s efforts to combat FMD, as well as Lumpy Skin Disease, given Indonesia is one of Australia’s most valued trading and diplomatic partners.