26 September 2023

Joint bid to keep animal diseases at bay

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The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has announced a partnership with its equivalents in the Northern Territory and Western Australia aimed at boosting surveillance and preparedness for emergency animal diseases.

In a statement, the Department said Northern Australia was at the forefront of biosecurity threats following the detection of foot-and-mouth disease and lumpy skin disease in Indonesia.

“The North also requires a unique approach to stakeholder engagement given the complex range of livestock industry stakeholders operating in isolated and remote regions,” the Department said.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, Mark Furner said $1 million would be allocated over two years to the partnership, helping to maximise resources and enhance capability.

“The funding supports the newly-established Northern Australian Coordination Network, which brings together the Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australian Governments in partnership with key industries and local communities,” Mr Furner said.

Federal Minister for Agriculture, Senator Murray Watt said that while Australia remained free from lumpy skin disease and foot-and-mouth disease, there was a need to stay alert to the risks.

“Our proximity to South-East Asia, where these diseases are present, poses an increased risk of an outbreak occurring here, particularly in Northern Australia,” Senator Watt said.

“The network will support preparedness activities by partnering with industry groups on the ground to maximise available resources, enhance communication and training, and boost our foot-and-mouth disease and lumpy skin disease surveillance efforts,” he said.

He said the country’s strict biosecurity system included import conditions and measures at the border to manage the risks, but everyone had a role to play.

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