Launch of a Senate inquiry into biosecurity measures

AFTER weeks of debate over the Federal Government’s response to the heightened threat of foot-and-mouth disease entering Australia, a Senate inquiry into the country’s biosecurity responses has been called.

The Reference Committee for Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport will lead the investigation with a report due on 10e of October.

In accordance with its terms of reference, the committee will examine two main aspects of biosecurity.

  • The adequacy of biosecurity measures and preparedness for Australia’s response, in particular foot-and-mouth disease and varroa
  • Response and implementation of previous biosecurity reports

Any other related question can also be put on the agenda.

Labor Senator Raff Ciccone told the Senate yesterday that the government wanted to work with industry to prevent foot-and-mouth disease from entering the country.

“We don’t want to play politics on this and on several occasions we have said that we want to work with them on this issue,” Mr Ciccone said.

“I have heard reports that international consumers are already asking which other countries they can source their beef from because the media debate is undermining confidence in Australia’s ability to prevent foot-and-mouth disease – despite the operation of our controls.

The senator was responding to the Nationals leader’s ongoing criticism of the government’s response to the foot-and-mouth disease threat David Littleproud. Mr Littleproud argued that more needed to be done in border controls to prevent foot-and-mouth disease from entering.

Responding to the survey announcement on Twitter, the National Farmers Federation said it wanted to talk about biosecurity.

“We look forward to supporting and participating in this investigation,” the tweet said.

“With so many serious threats on our doorstep, we need sustainable funding and a clear strategy to protect our farms and our natural environment.”

  • To learn more about the Senate investigation, click here

Norman D. Briggs