During the North Burnett Regional Council General Meeting Thursday 21 July, Councillor Sue Payne raised a matter of urgent business related to the current Indonesian outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and its implications for the Australian livestock industry. Council unanimously resolved to support our region’s important agricultural sector, by advocating for implementation of all available biosecurity measures, to prevent an FMD outbreak. Council subsequently called on the State and Federal Governments to proactively protect the Australian livestock industry, including consideration of border closures if appropriate. Council further resolved to write to all Queensland and Federal members of Parliament, expressing concern regarding FMD and supporting community and industry calls for greater biosecurity measures.
FMD is a highly contagious disease which affects cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs. In May 2022, an outbreak of the virus was reported in cattle in Indonesia. The importation of animal products from, and tourism activities with, any country which has been identified to have an outbreak of FMD poses a significant risk to Australia’s livestock industry. An outbreak would cause financial devastation at a local, state, and national level, at a time when our country can ill afford further financial and social setbacks. Whilst North Burnett Regional Council appreciates the reluctance to impose restrictions or bans on tourism, it is critical to prioritise and protect the long-term future of our livestock industry.
Australia’s agricultural sector has been devastated by natural disasters including droughts, floods and bushfires during recent years and has suffered challenges related to livestock export restrictions, as well as prolonged setbacks from the COVID pandemic. The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) modelling has projected that a widespread FMD outbreak in Australia would have an estimated direct economic impact of around $80 billion.
Council considers that the threat of FMD in neighbouring countries warrants an immediate response, proactively advocating to Queensland Government and Australian Government representatives to urgently take preventative action.
North Burnett Regional Council also urges members of the community to write to parliamentarians, highlighting the seriousness of FMD and calling for stronger biosecurity actions to be implemented immediately.
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