Federal Member for Mallee and Shadow Assistant Minister for Regional Development Anne Webster has called for the urgent attention of the Federal Labor Government in their response to foot and mouth disease (FMD) in Australia.
Dr Webster said the government’s response to the disease doesn’t go far enough and leaves the agriculture community vulnerable.
“The potential impact of FMD would be devastating. If this disease broke out in livestock, it could close the Australian sheep and cattle market overnight,” Dr Webster said.
“The economic impact would be almost equivalent to job-seeker. The Victorian livestock industry employs 52,000 people and accounts for more than $8 billion in production value per year, FMD risks wiping out the industry, and the jobs it provides, with a flow-on social and economic impact that would result.
“The government must implement thorough, comprehensive biosecurity measures to protect our farming community and livestock market. We need disinfectant foot baths at international airports for all flights from Indonesia to mitigate the current risk.
“Labor have so far dismissed this strategy yet have failed to take effective measures.
“Instead they have proposed an increased presence of sniffer dogs at Australian terminals which has no evidence to detect the presence of FMD.
“Australia has been free of FMD since 1872 and we to need keep it that way. I am calling on the new Minister for Agriculture Murray Watt to urgently act to protect our vital ag industry.”