Following on from the Australian Federal Government’s funding package to combat the spread of foot and mouth disease, the Victorian state government is establishing an Emergency Animal Disease (EAD) task force to prepare for the incursion of foot and mouth disease (FMD) as the disease spreads in Indonesia. The task force will work on creating a targeted government response to a range of things to be put in place to prevent an outbreak and identifying supply chain issues in repsect to testing, tracing, destruction, disposal and vaccination. The task force will be chaired by Agriculture Victoira chief executive officer Matt Lowe and Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crips and take advice from Victoria’s Chief Veterinarian Graeme Cooke. Indonesia has meanwhile claimed to have found no new cases in its latest update, which has surprised stakeholders on this side of the water.
Some farmers have called for a three month ban on travel to Indonesia as fears of an outbreak grows, calling the Government’s response reactionary rather than well planned. Some farmers are calling for investment to help Indonesia manage the FMD otubreak alongside a ban on all non-essential travel. Australia’s federal government has introduced a number of biosecurity measures, including risk assessments on 100% of passengers returning from Indonesia, increased questioning and bagg checks at airports as well as screening of all mail. The National Farmers’ Federation and a number of other industry stakeholder organisations are opposed to closing the border to Indonesia.