$65 MILLION TO COMBAT THE THREAT OF FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE
NSW Nationals Upper House MP Sam Farraway has welcomed the NSW Government’s announcement of an additional $65 million to combat the threat of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), which would have a devastating impact on the region's producers and economy.
“FMD is considered one of our greatest biosecurity risks and would have devastating personal, social and economic consequences on regional communities,” Mr Farraway said.
“This additional $65 million will improve the NSW Government’s capacity to prevent, detect and respond to an emergency animal disease.
“There is $5.8 million included with the goal to develop and manufacture mRNA synthetic vaccines for both Foot and Mouth and Lumpy Skin Disease in NSW.
“Vaccines for Foot and Mouth currently contain the live virus which means that following an outbreak, vaccinated animals would have to be destroyed for Australia to regain our FMD free status and access to premium world markets.
“An mRNA synthetic Foot and Mouth vaccine could mean that Australia could regain our FMD free status following an outbreak without having to destroy vaccinated animals.
“The world is also yet to develop a vaccine for Lumpy Skin so by having these two vaccines being made in NSW gives us additional tools in the event of an outbreak.
“Never before has Australia seen such a significant commitment to protecting farmers and the top-quality food and fibre they produce.
“It takes the total NSW Budget for biosecurity actions this year to $229 million, a record investment in a single jurisdiction to fight exotic pests and diseases.”
The NSW Nationals in Government are committing $55.8 million for practical, on-ground biosecurity risk mitigation and response preparedness activities, including:
· $26.3 million to expand a trained response capable workforce, systems and plans to ensure an effective response to an outbreak;
· $17.8 million to ramp up targeted cloven hooved vertebrate pest animal control
· $9.7 million for enhanced surveillance and diagnostic capacity;
· $2 million to roll out targeted extension and awareness campaigns to educate livestock owners, handlers, and the community on clinical signs and reporting requirements, as well as how to reduce risks.
The new funding package also includes a $3.5 million down payment from NSW to implement a national mandatory sheep and goat electronic identification.
"Farmers in our region deserve to know that we are doing everything we can to prepare for and respond to a potential FMD outbreak,” Mr Farraway said.
“That is why from the moment FMD spread to Indonesia and Bali, the NSW Nationals in Government took action to ensure every possible measure is in place to build our defence mechanisms and resilience.
“I remain committed to standing side-by-side with farmers from the Orange Electorate to ensure the NSW Nationals in Government does whatever it takes to protect our primary industries sector.”
NSW Farmers Biosecurity Chair Ian McColl said it fantastic news that the NSW Government is taking the desease so seriously but said it was critical everyone do their part to keep biosecurity threats off our shores.
“Diseases like FMD are bad news for Australia – not just our farmers, but our economy and the environment,” Mr McColl said.
“Australia’s reputation for high-quality, disease-free products is very valuable, but if FMD makes its way here our exports markets would crumble, livestock prices would fall through the floor, and farmers who for generations have made a living from pork, beef and lamb would struggle to make ends meet.
“It’s great to see people taking these threats seriously, and simple things like cleaning your clothes and shoes and sharing the message about biosecurity will help keep us all safe.”
For more information, visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fmd
MEDIA: Charlie Crawford 0447 182 864