New biosecurity measures welcomed by CWA of NSW, as threat to agriculture industry from FMD remains
The Country Women’s Association (CWA) of NSW welcomes the biosecurity measures introduced by the Federal Government in response to the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in Bali, Indonesia, and is calling for all Australians to get behind these responses.
“Australia is currently free from FMD, and our priority is to keep it that way,” said Joy Beames, President of CWA of NSW.
“Although slow in ramping up its response, it is good to see the government implementing additional measures to build on its initial response to the Indonesian outbreak,” she said.
“It’s the Federal Government’s responsibility to protect Australia from these diseases and we expect that they will be prompt and proportionate in their response, but we should all do everything we can to support their work.
“Biosecurity is everyone’s issue because the costs go far beyond the farm gate. When talking about foot-and-mouth disease we are looking at a threat to a $100 billion-dollar Australian industry, a threat that could have people lose their whole livelihoods, almost overnight.
“The loss of FMD-free status would result in the loss of Australia’s clean, green credentials that have been built up over decades and which give us access to market premiums and support the ongoing investment in the industry that in turn benefits the country.
“These pest and disease incursions not only have a direct and significant impact on industries and farm bottom-lines, but they seriously impact the health and wellbeing of vast numbers of people.
“If FMD was to reach Australia, we are looking at possible human tragedies as well as agricultural ones, and this is my concern.”
Joy said Australians appreciated the cost of biosecurity outbreaks on human health and economies, particularly since the COVID pandemic, but the impact on animal health was not as well understood.
“The biosecurity responses taken by the Government should continue to be assessed and adjusted in accordance with the threat of FMD to the Australian farming sector, and I urge all Australians, especially those returning from Bali, to remain vigilant and comply with all biosecurity measures.”
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