Northern Australian livestock industries will benefit from a ‘northern guard’ to strengthen the surveillance of diseases and pests such as Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and screw-worm fly.
The Coalition Government launched the Northern Australia Biosecurity Surveillance Significant Disease Investigation Network in Townsville today during a two day ‘masterclass’.
The network, which is an initiative of the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, aims to improve collaboration between animal health experts to better safeguard Northern Australia’s livestock industries from pests and diseases.
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud said a large scale Foot and Mouth outbreak would be a disaster for the agriculture industry.
“A Foot and Mouth outbreak could cost the national economy up to $52 billion over 10 years, so it is vital we do everything in our power to guard against pests and diseases,” Minister Littleproud said.
“The masterclass will combine the expertise of over 30 vets from across northern Western Australia, Queensland and Northern Territory.
“This financial year the Coalition Government is spending around $783 million on strengthening Australia’s biosecurity – an increase of over 29 per cent since we came to office in 2013.”
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said the launch of the network was great news for the northern Australian livestock industry, worth over $7 billion to the national economy.
“It will help us maximise our surveillance capacity across the north to ensure we can best protect our industries and our farm productivity,” Minister Canavan said.
“This will have benefits for farm profitability, as well as further strengthening our trade relationships.”
Senator for Queensland Ian Macdonald said the network would support northern farmers continue the work they do every day—producing livestock that rival the best the world has to offer.