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Strengthening Australia's Ability To Combat FMD

by 5m Editor
24 November 2011, at 8:23am

AUSTRALIA - The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) has released a review of Australia’s ability to manage to an outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD).

The report – A review of Australia’s preparedness for the threat of foot–and–mouth disease – was commissioned by the department and completed by former department Secretary, Ken Matthews AO.

DAFF Deputy Secretary, Rona Mellor, said Australia has been free of foot and mouth disease for more than 100 years but it is still by far the most significant biosecurity threat to Australia’s livestock industries.

“The Matthews report recognises Australia’s strong record in protecting Australia from an outbreak of FMD and identifies 11 ways to further strengthen its biosecurity system,” Ms Mellor said.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, has written to his state and territory counterparts seeking their commitment to work together to develop a strengthened approach, particularly in the areas of vaccination policy, sheep traceability and swill feeding.

“The Australian Government is strengthening its emergency management planning and planning for community recovery in the event of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Australia,” Ms Mellor said.

“Key livestock industry bodies have been invited to form an Industry–Government Working Group which will meet in December 2011 to assist in developing and implementing action plans to address the issues raised in Mr Matthews’ report.”

Australian Government and state and territory senior biosecurity officials are also working together to develop a national action plan to be considered by ministers in April 2012.

Australia’s biosecurity system is recognised worldwide as strong, bringing benefits to the economy, environment and way of life.

Australia remains free of many significant pests and diseases which enables globally competitive and sustainable industries.

A copy of the Matthews report can be found on the DAFF website.