Article by: Hari Yellina
As foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) spreads through Indonesia, the federal government has used new biosecurity authorities at Australian airports. International airports will establish biosecurity response zones, and in the following days, every traveller returning from Indonesia will be required to wear foot mats or follow other biosecurity instructions. Currently, any passenger who is regarded a risk must be questioned and make the decision to use foot mats and have their shoes cleaned. Only travellers returning from Indonesia will be subject to the three-month trial period’s mandatory application of the new rules. Since the 2015 Biosecurity Act was passed, this is the first time the restrictions have been put into practise.
Murray Watt, the federal agriculture minister, said the modifications were the most recent step in Australia’s greatest biosecurity response ever. Senator Watt stated, “We have already announced a $14 million support plan to limit the risk of FMD moving from Bali to Australia, including better detection and protection here in Australia and a million vaccines for the Indonesian cattle industry. “As an additional measure of security for visitors returning from Indonesia, I also announced the installation of sanitization foot mats at all international airports. “These mats have started to arrive in certain airports around the nation today, and in the coming days, travellers will start to see them at customs.” Several federal opposition members, including the previous Agriculture Minister, have made calls to consider closing the border to Indonesia.
Senator Watt and Fiona Simson, head of the National Farmers Federation, both rejected the notion in remarks made at a joint press conference. The closing of borders, according to our members, is not supported, Ms. Simson stated. “It would jeopardise a very lucrative trade.” Despite the fact that FMD has long been a problem in nations other than Indonesia, the planned steps show the increased worry about the disease’s spread in such a close neighbour. Despite the discovery of viral particles in beef products this week in Melbourne and Adelaide, Australia is still free of FMD. It is crucial that the live virus does not infiltrate the local livestock business, according to Ms. Simson, who travelled to Indonesia last week with Senator Watt to review biosecurity and market arrangements.