The National Farmers’ Federation has welcomed Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt’s announcement today Australia will bolster Indonesia’s ammunition in its war against Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).
President Fiona Simson is in Jakarta for a three-day delegation with Minister Watt and Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Mark Schipp where the Minister announced Australia would extend its support on the ground by providing funding for up to 1 million vaccines to Indonesia and $500,000 for Meat and Livestock Australia to improve biosecurity in Indonesian feedlots.
“If we are to keep FMD out of Australia we need to take a two-pronged approach – a ring of steel at home and supporting our neighbours in places like Indonesia.
“We are in Indonesia to gain firsthand insight into what’s happening on the ground, and also to understand what more we can do to bring this disease under control in Indonesia, because we know that will drastically reduce the threat to Australia.
“Australia has a strong partnership with Indonesia, across trade and tourism, and it is important during this time that we build on these ties through communication and collaboration. We’re standing with our fellow farmers in Indonesia as they tackle the immense and devastating task of euthanising affected animals, vaccinating the remaining herd and stopping further spread so they can start rebuilding.”
Strains of FMD are endemic in many areas of the world, including parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, where it is managed with vaccination programs. Ms Simson said this demonstrates the importance of vaccinations in managing the disease, and the value this assistance will have for our partners in Indonesia.
“Australia remains one of less than 70 OIE member countries recognised as free from FMD and we must keep it that way,” Ms Simson said.
“I’ve seen firsthand in Jakarta what farmers are going through. FMD affects the livelihoods of farmers and every business and worker down the supply chain. It closes down trade access, reduces meat and dairy supply to supermarket shelves, and the dent in Australia’s economy could be as large as $80 billion.
“My message is simple, we need to pull out all the stops to make sure FMD doesn’t reach our shores. While we welcome today’s announcement, we still want every single traveller returning from Indonesia screened and for constant review of all settings in our line of defence, including shoe sanitising stations.
“We urge every traveller to be vigilant by avoiding farms in Indonesia, thoroughly cleaning their clothes and shoes – or even better supporting our #ThrowYourThongs campaign.
“It’s also critical that people follow biosecurity directions and not attempt to bring prohibited products such as meat back into Australia illegally.
“This is yet another reminder of our need for a long-term, sustainable funding pipeline for biosecurity, a call Australian farmers will not relent on.”