Victorian producers cannot be left vulnerable to another biosecurity crisis as the number of avian influenza infections continue to grow across the UK.
In 2020 the Victorian poultry industry was on high alert as infected birds were found at six farms in the state.
Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Emma Kealy, said the industry needed certainty that the Andrews Government was prepared to protect the industry should another incursion occur.
“Throughout the past two years the UK has faced its largest outbreak of avian flu, and it’s important we maintain Victoria’s biosecurity,” Ms Kealy said.
“Victorian producers have stared down the barrel of a Foot and Mouth Disease threat, which continues to try and push its way onto Australian shores.
“The agriculture industry is worth more than $85 billion to the Victorian economy, a threat can present itself without notice so the government must always be ready to act.”
Ms Kealy said preparation was key to ensuring Victoria’s agriculture industry didn’t come to a standstill.
“Our primary producers need certainty in the face of biosecurity threats. While Australia remained FMD free, it caused significant disruptions for producers,” Ms Kealy said.
“Despite continuing threats to Victorian agriculture, the Andrews Government ripped 145 jobs out of Agriculture Victoria – decreasing capacity of the department and its ability to provide valuable services and expertise to the industry.
“The Andrews Labor Government needs to ensure Agriculture Victoria is adequately staffed and funded to protect our producers and ensure Victorians have safe access to food and fibre.”