TODAY the Senate Inquiry into the Adequacy of Australia’s biosecurity measures and response preparedness came to Rockhampton to find out how Queensland is set up to cope with a potential biosecurity breach and the impacts that diseases like Foot and Mouth and Lumpy Skin disease would have on the region.
SENATOR Matthew Canavan, Michelle Landry MP, and Colin Boyce MP said that this was important to ensure that Australia is able to cope with the risks of these diseases that are currently in our region, and make sure that we’re in a position to stop them before our industries are severely impacted.
The inquiry is being conducted by the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport (RRAT) References Committee, chaired by Senator Canavan, with a public hearing being held in Rockhampton today.
“The risk to our region is incredibly high with estimates that the total economic impact on Central and Western Queensland of FMD to be $1.1 billion.
“This would be devastating for Central Queensland if it did get in.
“The Australian Government’s agricultural experts, ABARES, estimate that a foot and mouth outbreak could cost Australia $80 billion, with $50 billion of that cost falling on the beef industry. As the Beef Capital, Rockhampton and surrounds have a key interest in making sure that our biosecurity measures are rock solid.
“That’s why we’re going to be listening to those people on the ground, whose livelihoods would be harmed by this and what we need to be doing better,” Senator Canavan said.
Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said foot-and-mouth disease is a real and present threat to Australia’s agriculture industry.
“The inquiry being held in Rockhampton is so important because it gives those people whose livelihoods would be most impacted by an outbreak of foot and mouth, the opportunity to be heard,” Michelle Landry said.
“Rockhampton is the Beef Capital, and the economic loss to the beef industry here in Central Queensland, and to the Australian economy if there were to be an outbreak would be billions of dollars and cripple our industry,”
“Biosecurity measures need to be adequate and in place, for Queensland’s beef industry to cope and respond in the devastating event of an outbreak.” Ms Landry said.
There are follow up hearings being held in Newcastle on Wednesday, and Canberra on Thursday.
Federal Member for Flynn Colin Boyce said if Foot and Mouth disease reaches Australian shores, it will devastate the agricultural industry, associated industries and cost the Australian economy tens of billions of dollars.
“Roughly half of Australia’s cattle population is in Queensland and roughly a third of that is in the Central Queensland which includes the Flynn Electorate,” Mr Boyce said.
“Many Flynn farmers have contacted me, concerned about the impacts of diseases like Foot and Mouth and Lumpy Skin disease.
“I encourage these farmers to provide a submission to the inquiry.”
Further information about the inquiry, including terms of reference, submissions and public inquiry dates can be found here: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Rural_and_Regional_Affairs_and_Transport/FMDBiosecurity