The Queensland Government says a major program is now underway which aims to bolster the state’s capacity to respond to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).
Agriculture Minister John McVeigh said the Foot-and-mouth disease Preparedness Program was established to deliver on the government’s commitment to make Queensland the most prepared state in Australia, and election promise to grow agriculture as one of the four pillars of the economy.
“This program is essential to protect Queensland’s farm industries,” Mr McVeigh said.
“FMD is widely regarded as the most significant biosecurity threat to Australia, with the capacity to wipe out large parts of beef, sheep and other animal industries.
“Modelling shows a large-scale, multi-state outbreak could potentially cost up to $52 billion and we’d be unlikely to fully recover some major agricultural export markets for more than 10 years after an outbreak.
“We set the goal to double agricultural production by 2040 and increasing biosecurity and our state’s capacity to respond to a disease outbreak is integral to achieving this.
“Australia has been free from the disease since the 1800s, and the Queensland Government is taking the action to keep it that way.”
Mr McVeigh said the preparedness program included review of policies, stakeholder awareness sessions, workshops and preparation of a ‘livestock standstill’ to deal with a mock FMD outbreak.
“Overseas, foot and mouth disease has devastated major animal industries including cattle, sheep, pigs and goats, as well as tourism and retail.
“Socially, the impacts of outbreaks overseas have been devastating, with many farmers, families and communities pushed to breaking point.
“We simply cannot let that happen to our farm industries that underpin Queensland’s economy.
“Through the Foot-and-mouth disease Preparedness Program, Biosecurity Queensland will work with industry to reduce the risk of it entering our state and ensure we are ready to respond swiftly and effectively if the disease ever rears its head in Queensland.”
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