Following the rumours of an impending ban on Australian meat products in China due to an alleged risk of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has stated there are no grounds for such a trade sanction.
“We’ve acted very strongly. There’s no indication that it has not been successful here in Australia. We’re working with industries,” Albanese said, according to the Australian Financial Review.
“What we did was take the strongest ever action that any government has ever taken to ensure that everything possible was done to keep it out. And it has been kept out.”
Agricultural industry leaders investigated Sydney International Airport to scope out Australia’s biosecurity measures last week. Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry secretary and Australia’s director of Biosecurity, Andrew Metcalfe, said the leaders have prioritised the ramp up of biosecurity measures since FMD was detected in Indonesia.
“These measures include new biosecurity officers in airports and mail centres, risk-profiling 100 per cent of passengers that come into Australia from Indonesia, sanitation foot mats in all international airports, and FMD messaging at airports and on returning flights from Indonesia,” Metcalfe said.
“We’ve also granted our biosecurity officers additional powers under the Biosecurity Act 2015 to direct all travellers from Indonesia to walk over sanitising foot mats. Travellers are now asked if they have been in Indonesia during the past seven days and if they answer ‘yes’ are referred for biosecurity assessment.”
The inspection was a collaboration between government and representatives from Meat & Livestock Australia, Australian Meat Industry Council, Wilmot Cattle Co, Australian Pork Limited and Australian Wool Innovation.
Agriculture minister Murray Watt said it was a great opportunity for industry to witness the strong measures implemented by the government at the borders.
“We have been working hand in hand with industry to make sure our response to the threat of FMD is appropriate,” Minister Watt said.
“Australia remains FMD-free and we will do everything we can to keep it that way.”