Legislative Council: Tuesday, September 06, 2022



The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI (Leader of the Opposition) (15:23): My questions are to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development regarding biosecurity measures.

The Hon. K.J. Maher interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order! Please continue. Ignore the Leader of the Government.

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI: Thank you, Mr President, for your protection.

1. Is the minister confident that everything possible is being done by the state and federal governments to keep lumpy skin disease and foot-and-mouth disease out of South Australia?

2. Has the minister received advice from her department recommending any further measures that should be adopted at either a state or federal level?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (15:23): I thank the honourable member for her question. It certainly is incredibly important that we give great attention to possible emergency animal diseases and plant diseases as well, particularly those that haven't been in Australia before. Foot-and-mouth disease, of course, is one of those.

A lot of the preparedness measures that have been in place for diseases such as lumpy skin disease are equally applicable to foot-and-mouth disease. We know that, following the detection of foot-and-mouth disease in Indonesia, it has increased the risk for Australia; however, the risk has always been there, for many decades. We are very fortunate that in South Australia, and indeed Australia as a whole, we have very robust biosecurity measures and in many ways we are the envy of much of the rest of the world because we do have such robust biosecurity measures.

We continue to work closely with the Australian government as well as with industry to remain alert to any developments. We have done a large number of preparedness activities. Just some of those include a joint PIRSA-livestock industry workshop with a number of industry leaders. That was held in early August and that involved Livestock SA, the SA Dairyfarmers Association and Pork SA. We are using the outcomes of that workshop to inform future preparedness activities.

Also in early August, Livestock SA hosted a webinar where South Australia's Chief Veterinary Officer provided South Australian context for the preparedness activities. I also addressed that webinar. We outlined the likely response required should an emergency animal outbreak occur.

PIRSA are working collaboratively with stakeholders in our regional areas also to provide disease and response awareness information. That is through quite a wide range of activities, including field days, shows, producer talks, meetings with private veterinarians and so on. Indeed, I was at the Show yesterday and visited the PIRSA site. Our stall there is, of course, providing information about a number of issues, including some of the diseases that we are referring to.

PIRSA's key area of activity for preparedness is enhancing surveillance to ensure early detection of disease; promoting biosecurity practices that prevent the spread of disease on farm; increasing FMD testing capacity at VetLab, which of course is the state animal health diagnostic laboratory; and operational planning to ensure a rapid and effective response should FMD or indeed any other emergency animal disease be detected in Australia.

PIRSA has also led the establishment of some cross-agency committees under the state emergency centre to progress preparedness activities. We are also collaborating with several agencies on further work that can be done, particularly in those cross-agency subcommittees.

I am very pleased that the federal minister, Murray Watt, has been in contact directly with not only myself but also my equivalents in other jurisdictions to ensure that we are working collectively. One of the most important measures but also one of the most important messages we need to get out is that biosecurity is everyone's responsibility. It is the responsibility of government, it is the responsibility of industry and it is the responsibility of members of the community.

One of the areas that of course has been particularly in the news has been for travellers who are travelling back from overseas, in particular from Bali but not only from Bali. Members may recall that it was in the news—someone having part of their McDonald's hamburger in their backpack as they returned from Bali and receiving a huge fine.

That, of course, was unfortunate for that individual, but it really does highlight the importance of ensuring that meat and dairy products in particular do not come into the country without proper procedures. Why someone would have half their Macca's in their backpack I really can't say, but that is really a different matter. Those sorts of measures in terms of discouraging people from being less than aware I think are important.

I am very pleased with the ongoing work in regard to emergency animal diseases such as lumpy skin disease and foot-and-mouth disease, and I will continue to work with industry, with the federal government and with other jurisdictions to ensure that South Australia and Australia, to the extent that we have input there, does remain free from foot-and-mouth disease.