Legislative Council: Thursday, July 07, 2022


Foot-and-Mouth Disease

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI (Leader of the Opposition) (14:28): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking a question of the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development regarding biosecurity.

Leave granted.

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI: In relation to the threat of foot-and-mouth disease, the minister advised the council on 2 June that, and I quote, 'An industry task force has been established to work on preparedness activities.' My questions to the minister are:

1. When did the industry task force last meet?

2. How frequently is the task force meeting?

3. Is the minister on, or represented on, the task force?

4. Has the minister attended any of the industry task force meetings?

5. When will the task force report on preparedness activities?

6. Will the task force make recommendations to the government?

7. Will those recommendations be made public?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:28): I thank the honourable member for her question. In response to the detection of foot-and-mouth disease in Indonesia, the Australian government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry is engaged with Indonesia on a constant basis to assist with their response and minimise risk posed by this risk, with pre-border and border activities.

In the event that foot-and-mouth occurs in Australia, the response is centrally coordinated through the Consultative Committee on Emergency Animal Disease and the cost-sharing arrangements for the response are pre-agreed in the Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement signed by all the states and territories, the commonwealth and peak industry bodies. We continue to work closely with the Australian government, our colleagues interstate and our local livestock industry, remaining alert to the developments.

I am advised that PIRSA, in response to the significance of the foot-and-mouth disease—as indeed, the lumpy skin disease also—outbreaks in Indonesia, is prioritising staff resources to focus on preparedness activities on these diseases. PIRSA is working closely with state peak industry bodies, and nationally through working groups, to contribute to both national and state preparedness activities.

I am also advised that PIRSA's key areas of activity for preparedness will be enhanced surveillance to ensure early detection of disease and planning to ensure a rapid and effective response, should detection of this disease occur in Australia. This will include a communications strategy to complement the national efforts being undertaken. Foot-and-mouth disease is one of Australia's greatest livestock biosecurity risks. Australia is currently free of foot-and-mouth disease and, as we know, an outbreak would have devastating impacts.

I have been updated in terms of the processes being undertaken at airports, particularly in regard to travellers returning from Bali. As members may be aware, there have now been detections of foot-and-mouth disease in Bali. I remain in contact with my department, which is working with all stakeholders. Any other questions that the member has put forward I can take on notice and come back with a reply.