SENATOR Matthew Canavan, Michelle Landry MP, and Colin Boyce MP called for the local Central Queensland beef industry to make a submission to a new Senate inquiry on Australia’s biosecurity system with a special focus on minimising the risk of a foot and mouth disease outbreak.
The inquiry is being conducted by the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport (RRAT) References Committee, chaired by Senator Canavan, with the first public hearing being held today.
“There is an understandable concern about the risk of foot and mouth entering Australia since it was detected in Bali in early July. That concern is already impacting confidence in cattle markets with prices falling over the past month.
“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.
“We’re calling for all those that could be affected by a potential biosecurity breach to make submissions to the inquiry to help ensure that our country’s processes are best placed to stop the risk,” Senator Canavan said.
Submissions to the inquiry close on 26 August 2022, and can be made by any member of the public.
Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said foot-and-mouth disease is real and present threat to Australia’s agriculture industry.
“Foot-and-mouth needs to be treated seriously and I urge anyone who could be affected by this debilitating disease to come forward for the inquiry,” Michelle Landry said.
“An outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease would cost the Central and Western Queensland region $1.1 billion, which 5.2 per cent of the region’s economy. In my electorate, $214,400,000 would be written off Rockhampton’s economy and $121,800,000 written off in the Livingstone Shire.”
The inquiry is expected to report back to the senate by 10 October 2022.
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 what a foot-and-mouth outbreak would mean for their farm and more significantly, Australia as we know it.
“I encourage these farmers to provide a submission to the enquiry.”
Further information about the inquiry, including how to make submission, terms of reference, and public inquiry dates can be found here: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Rural_and_Regional_Affairs_and_Transport/FMDBiosecurity