Farmers welcome state's biosecurity boost

NSW Farmers Biosecurity Chair Ian McColl has welcomed the state government’s continued investment in biosecurity measures, with an additional boost to funding announced this week.
On Monday, the NSW Government announced $65 million to aid in emergency animal disease preparedness, including the fast-tracking of the development of mRNA synthetic vaccines to tackle foot and mouth disease, and lumpy skin disease, both of which are now present in Indonesia. 
Foot and mouth disease – which affects many farmed animals – poses a significant threat to agriculture in Australia, with estimates an outbreak could cost the country $80 billion due to loss of production and trade market closures. 
“This investment into research and development is a potential game-changer for agriculture, because there is no mRNA vaccine for foot and mouth disease or lumpy skin disease,” Mr McColl said.
“We welcome the state government’s ongoing focus on biosecurity because we must proactively keep these diseases out.
“However, if they reach our shores we must be prepared to deal with them swiftly and decisively, because an FMD outbreak could potentially cost up to $18 million a day just here in NSW alone.”
The government also announced $55.8 million for a range of other measures to improve biosecurity efforts across the board, including $26.3 million to expand a trained response workforce of at least 2000 experts, enhanced disease surveillance, boosted funding to control feral animals including pigs, and targeted education campaigns.
“At the end of the day, biosecurity is a responsibility we all share,” Mr McColl said.
“It’s great to see a focus on pest animal control as well as on diseases, and practical on-the-ground resources for other biosecurity concerns.
“NSW Farmers has long called for long-term, sustainable funding for our biosecurity system with clear roles and responsibilities for public and private sector.”

Date: Tuesday, August 23, 2022
Media Contact: Steve Mudd  | 0429 011 690 | [email protected]