East Gippsland farmers are anxiously watching developments in relation to foot and mouth disease in Indonesia, and Nationals Gippsland East MP, Tim Bull, is calling on all levels of government to work with them to ensure we are ready should an outbreak occur.
“I have been in discussions with local farmers, stock agents and East Gippsland Shire Council about the situation and the slow response coming out of Canberra to implement more stringent measures for travellers returning from Indonesia.
“We also need to be prepared locally,” said Mr Bull.
“With thousands of Australians travelling to Indonesia, we need to ensure every person coming back into the country is stopped, questioned and required to sterilise or get rid of footwear that might be carrying the disease.
“Victoria’s Department of Agriculture must also step up.
“Last week I wrote to the newly appointed Agriculture Minister, the Hon. Gayle Tierney, seeking information about Agriculture Victoria’s preparedness to manage an outbreak of foot and mouth, including plans for the rapid production of vaccines and their deployment on farms.
“At the same time, I chatted with stock agents at the Bairnsdale Livestock Exchange to hear about their plans for supporting the cattle and sheep industry to monitor animals for symptoms of foot and mouth and to assist with quarantine, vaccination and the disposal of infected animals, should that be required.
“They have identified a range of practical disease control measures that I am seeking action on from Agriculture Victoria.
“But the proactive stance taken by farmers and the agriculture industry has, so far, not been met with a similar level of urgency by State and Federal governments.
“We need to be confident that all levels of government are prepared to take the appropriate action required – no matter how disruptive – to protect producers, livestock, and our economic future,” said Mr Bull.