Friday, April 12, 2024
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Senator Murray Watt

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

The Albanese Government is continuing its tough stance on the threat of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) by stepping up biosecurity messages for travellers returning on flights from Indonesia.

As of yesterday, biosecurity officers are boarding planes on arrival and playing a new biosecurity message on all inbound flights from Indonesia, reinforcing Australia’s strict biosecurity measures and providing FMD-specific advice to travellers.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt said the Albanese Government is very serious about keeping this devastating disease out of Australia.

“Yesterday I convened a briefing with nearly 80 farm, food and biosecurity leaders to share information on the status of the outbreak, the Government’s new biosecurity measures and to reaffirm our commitment to implementing any sensible measures to prevent an outbreak here,” Minister Watt said.

“Separately, I was also briefed from some of Australia’s leading biosecurity experts, including from CSIRO’s Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness, the Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis and Australia’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Mark Schipp.

“At both briefings, I received valuable feedback and suggestions for additional measures and am now seeking departmental advice on them.

“This is a highly contagious animal disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals such as cattle, sheep, goats and pigs, and we must all take it seriously.

“Travellers, farmers, governments and the general public have a shared responsibility when it comes to protecting Australia from an outbreak, which would have a significant impact on Australian agriculture and would cost the Australian people many billions of dollars.”

This latest measure is in addition to other steps the Albanese Government had already put in place, including:

  • 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.
  • The location of biosecurity detector dogs to 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; and;
  • Enhancement of mail profiling and inspections.

Those keeping or working with cattle, sheep, goats or pigs are urged to be aware of the signs of FMD – blisters on the mouth and drooling or limping animals – and report any symptoms to their veterinarian or Australia’s Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

Directly affected producers who are reporting potential FMD should not be financially disadvantaged under Australia’s nationally agreed plan for responding to emergency animal disease outbreaks. State and territory legislation defines any compensation payable in the event of an FMD outbreak in Australia.

For more information on FMD visit:

Feature Image By Brasil2

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