AFTER weeks of debate about 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 Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee will head up the inquiry with a report due on the 10th of October.
According to its terms of reference the committee will be examining two main aspects of biosecurity.
- The adequacy of Australia’s biosecurity measures and response preparedness, in-particular foot-and-mouth disease and varroa mite
- Response to and implementation of previous reports into biosecurity
Any other related matters can also be put on the agenda.
Labor senator Raff Ciccone told the senate yesterday the government was keen to work with industry to keep FMD out of the country.
“We don’t want to play politics on this and on multiple occasions we have said we want to work with them on this issue,” Mr Ciccone said.
“I’ve heard concerning 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 keep FMD out – despite our controls working.”
The senator was responding to consistent criticism of the government’s response to the FMD threat by Nationals leader David Littleproud. Mr Littleproud has been arguing more effort needs to be into border controls to stop FMD coming in.
Responding to the announcement of the inquiry on Twitter, the National Farmers Federation said it was keen to talk about biosecurity.
“We look forward to supporting and participating in this Inquiry,” the tweet said.
“With so many serious threats on our doorstep, we need sustainable funding and a clear strategy to protect our farms and natural environment.”
- For more on the senate inquiry click here