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RMAC: Continued cooperation by all will protect Australia from FMD

Beef Central, 20/07/2022

The Red Meat Advisory Council is calling for an end to hysterical claims about food supply, industry compensation and other exotic animal disease issues, which ‘only seek to instil fear rather than any genuine attempt to assist in strengthen Australia’s response’.

“The red meat and livestock industry is united in our commitment to continue to work with the Australian government on the prevention of an incursion of emergency animal diseases in Australia,” the Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC) Independent Chair John McKillop said.

The Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC) and members, the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council, Australian Lot Feeders Association, Australian Meat Industry Council, Cattle Council of Australia, Goat Industry Council of Australia and the Sheep Producers Australia represent the entire red meat and livestock supply chain from paddock to plate.

“We have been contributing to and supporting the federal and state governments’ response to the preparatory work on Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) management since the incursions in Indonesia were reported.

John McKillop

“This is the time to work collaboratively, and we ask for an end to some of the hysterical claims about food supply, industry compensation and other exotic animal disease issues that only seek to instil fear rather than any genuine attempt to assist in strengthen Australia’s response.

“FMD is prevalent in many countries worldwide, not just in Indonesia. RMAC and members are supportive of the Australian government’s measured response and for the continued assistance offered to our neighbours in Indonesia and keeping trade and travel open. It is our expectation that Australia’s responses to the risks posed by both FMD and LSD would be approached in a bipartisan manner.

“The rapid and reliable traceability of livestock plays a significant part in any emergency animal disease response. The faster animals are traced the greater the ability to control a disease outbreak and minimise its economic and social impacts. The fact that the Australian red meat and livestock industry has investment hundreds of millions of the dollars into traceability gives us the ability to assure consumers that even if there is an FMD or LSD outbreak in Australia, we will be able to isolate the farm or region and continue to supply high quality product from the rest of Australia.

“The red meat and livestock industry supports meaningful traceability reforms to further strengthen traceability for biosecurity, food safety and emergency response purposes, and for supporting market access requirements.

“The red meat and livestock industry therefore seeks the Federal Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry’s support for the urgent implementation of these reforms to improve detection and management of exotic animal disease.

“Australia is currently free of FMD and LSD, and it is important our industry does not take this disease-free status for granted. Protecting Australia from exotic disease incursion will take cooperation and commitment from everyone.

“The risk to Australia remains low, however, if an exotic disease outbreak were to occur, arrangements and plans developed by industry and government are in place to allow for a rapid nationally coordinated response, including cost-sharing and compensation.

“Producers should focus on preparing for an incursion, just in case, by ensuring their on-farm biosecurity plans are complete and in place to protect their livestock and livelihoods. Travellers returning to Australia from a country with FMD, including Indonesia, should ensure they follow all biosecurity requirements,” said Mr McKillop.

FREE WEBINAR TONIGHT:

Hear from four key experts on Australia’s FMD/LSD response so far and get their firsthand insights into what’s happening in Indonesia and what would happen if these diseases arrived in Australia.

Speakers:  John McKillop, Independent Chair | Red Meat Advisory Council; Fiona Simson, president, National Farmers’ Federation; Dr Chris Parker, National LSD/FMD Preparedness Coordinator, DAFF; Dr Samantha Allan, General Manager of Emergency Preparedness, Animal Health and Biosecurity, Animal Health Australia.

How to join: 6-7pm AEST, Wednesday 20 July 2022. Join the webinar using this link before 6pm (AEST) Wednesday 20 July 2022. Join the webinar

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Comments

  1. David Connolly, 20/07/2022

    I understand that inflammatory language and hysterical claims may not be so helpful around the EAD issue presently.
    But what I also know, is Government and some parts of industry are too slow to act. Funding rollout from Government needs to stop, “rolling out” and actually hit the ground. I verydirectly flagged this biosecurity issue at the NTCA conference in March during my Presidents speech and offered some answers and solutions. The NT Government immediately acted and then asked for further Federal funding that it is my understanding they are yet to receive. It is now the end of July and today the government announce footbaths. Good stuff!
    How long now until they are on the ground? The states have been promised funding for Biosecurity positions. The funds are still not received. Our industry leaders may well start to get a bit more emotional about this threat, because quietly trotting along in line is not helping with getting many issues actually solved on the ground in a timely manner. Traceability in country whilst important is not nearly as important as actually keeping the EAD out of the country in the first place.
    The Minister has been very communicative and that’s great, but it’s past time that funding for Industry support officers and Biosecurity officers that has been promised occurs without further delay. A small cost now may well prevent a massive cost later.
    So yes, some people may be getting emotional, but their very livelihood is at stake, and so is yours.

    David Connolly
    President
    Northern Territory Cattleman’s Association (NTCA)

    • Donna Grayson, 21/07/2022

      David Connolly, you hit the nail on the head. The response was and is too slow. It is the lack of action that has created the hysterics. Had we not politicised it, we would have had no action from the labour government. “Prevention is better than cure”. We need action from the government to stop it coming in, Instead, they are placing higher importance on managing it, once it is in our country. It is not the first time a labour government has let down producers in this country.

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