New portable sample testing and mobile incident centres will be rolled out as part of the Victorian Government’s effort to bolster the state’s response to any outbreak of foot-and-mouth or lumpy skin disease.
The State Government has pledged to deliver a $10 million package to ensure it can swiftly respond to any local detection of the diseases.
“Our livestock industries are extremely valuable, and we must have the infrastructure and people in place in case of an emergency animal disease outbreak – investing now means we will be prepared to respond swiftly and protect our livestock, farmers and biosecurity system,” said Minister for Agriculture, Gayle Tierney.
“We will continue engaging with industry, farmers and communities, to ensure they are prepared if an outbreak were to occur.”
The Minister said the support will be tailored to industry and community, with the development of a campaign to help stop foot and mouth disease already underway.
If an outbreak occurs, a portable testing lab will be deployed to outbreak locations to allow real-time on-site sample testing, she said.
The funding will also help to ensure farmers are equipped with resources if there is a detection and enable them to liaise with Agriculture Victoria as quickly as possible should there need to be the implementation of a livestock standstill.
The Victorian Government has also announced it will establish Mobile Incident Command Centres, and roll-out IT system upgrades to easily track outbreaks and coordinate online permits for livestock movements.
Specialist training in emergency animal diseases, outbreak management and recovery arrangements will also be rolled out to identified government agency staff and industry.
An additional 49 dedicated emergency animal disease staff are also being recruited to advance response measures already underway.
“Foot-and-mouth disease and lumpy skin disease are major threats to Victoria’s agriculture,” Agriculture Victoria Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Graeme Cooke.
“That is why we are investing in a range of capabilities should Victoria ever need to deal with these challenging diseases.”
To learn more about foot-and-mouth disease and biosecurity preparedness, visit agriculture.vic.gov.au/FMD.