National Farmers' Federation (NFF) president, Fiona Simson, is calling on the Federal Government and travellers to immediately step up their defence to protect Australia from the potentially devastating disease.
"Now that borders are open, international travel is rapidly ramping up with ABS data showing more than half a million arrivals in April this year," Simson said.
The Australian Government confirmed the presence of FMD in livestock in Bali. As of yesterday, there were 63 FMD cases in Bali and movement restrictions have been implemented by Indonesian authorities.
"The news that FMD has reached Bali has sent a shiver up the spine of Australian farmers, as the risk of it reaching our shores has undoubtedly grown. The Australian Government must undertake rapid risk analysis to ensure our prevention measures are equal to this new level of risk," Simson said.
"Indonesia is one of our closest partners, both diplomatically and in terms of trade. The Government must continue to support our neighbours to bring this spread under control. This is vital to protecting our industry."
FMD is a highly contagious virus that affects all cloven-hoofed animals including cattle, sheep and pigs, and can be carried on live animals as well as in meat, dairy products, soil, vehicles and equipment. Importantly, it can also be carried on people's clothing and footwear.
The NFF is calling on all those traveling in the region to be aware of the risks, and take appropriate action to ensure they do not bring home this devastating disease.
"Australians have done the right thing through covid, taking precautions to stop the spread of covid. Our farmers now need travellers to treat the threat of FMD with the same amount of caution," Simson said.
"An incursion of FMD alone would cost Australia up to $80 billion - hurting the entire economy, not just the farm sector."
Travellers who have visited a farm or been in contact with animals in infected countries need to declare this when arriving in Australia. Ensure all footwear, clothing and equipment is free of mud, animal manure and mucus. Travellers also need to be aware of the requirements regarding what they bring into Australia.
In response to the FMD outbreak in Indonesia, frontline biosecurity officers in Australia are operating with increased vigilance across all flights arriving from Indonesia, including Bali.
These same biosecurity checks are in place for all travellers from Indonesia.
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