The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) is extremely concerned following reports that Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) has spread to Bali. NFF President Fiona Simson is calling on the Federal Government and travellers to immediately step up our defence to protect Australia from this potentially devastating disease.
“Now that borders are open, international travel is rapidly ramping up with ABS data showing more than half a million arrivals in April this year,” Ms Simson said.
“Bali has always been a favourite travel destination. Pre-Covid, 1.23 million Aussies packed their bags to visit our Indonesian neighbour in 2019.
“The news that FMD has reached Bali has sent a shiver up the spine of Australian farmers, as the risk of it reaching our shores has undoubtedly grown. The Australian Government must undertake rapid risk analysis to ensure our prevention measures are equal to this new level of risk.
Indonesia is one of our closest partners, both diplomatically and in terms of trade. The Government must continue to support our neighbours to bring this spread under control. This is vital to protecting our industry.
FMD is a highly contagious virus that affects all cloven-hoofed animals including cattle, sheep and pigs, and can be carried on live animals as well as in meat, dairy products, soil, vehicles and equipment. Importantly, it can also be carried on people’s clothing and footwear.
Travellers must be on high alert to make sure this disease doesn’t reach our shores. The NFF is calling on all those traveling in the region to be aware of the risks, and take appropriate action to ensure they do not bring home this devastating disease
“Australians have done the right thing through covid, taking precautions to stop the spread of covid. Our farmers now need travellers to treat the threat of FMD with the same amount of caution.
“An incursion of FMD alone would cost Australia up to $80 billion – hurting the entire economy, not just the farm sector.”
The Australian agricultural industry exports two thirds of what we produce. Market access underpins the strong commodity prices our nation has experienced over recent years. This is all at risk if FMD reaches our shores.
“Our ability to produce food and fibre for Australians and the world would take a major blow, which is why biosecurity is important to every single person.
“We urge travellers to be patient and work with authorities, who we hope will be taking every step to minimise risk at our borders,” Ms Simson said.
Travellers who have visited a farm or been in contact with animals in infected countries need to declare this when arriving in Australia. Ensure all footwear, clothing and equipment is free of mud, animal manure and mucus. Travellers also need to be aware of the requirements regarding what they bring into Australia.