VICTORIA will establish mobile emergency animal disease incident command centres and a portable testing laboratory to quicken first responses to local detections.
The initiatives are part of a $10 million package to build on the state’s Victoria’s incursion preparedness to respond swiftly if there is a detection of diseases such as Foot and Mouth Disease or Lumpy Skin Disease.
The funding builds on Victoria’s extensive emergency animal disease preparedness efforts and will support the work of the Emergency Animal Disease Taskforce established last month.
The State Government said today a portable testing lab will be deployed to outbreak locations to allow real-time on-site sample testing. An additional 49 dedicated emergency animal disease staff are also being recruited to advance response measures already underway.
The funding will also 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 government said it is set to establish mobile incident command centres and roll-out IT system upgrades to easily track outbreaks and co-ordinate 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, the government said.
Minister for Agriculture Gayle Tierney said Victoria’s livestock industries are extremely valuable and the state 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.
“We will continue engaging with industry, farmers and communities, to ensure they are prepared if an outbreak were to occur,” she said.
Agriculture Victoria Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Graeme Cooke said Foot and Mouth Disease and Lumpy Skin Disease are major threats to Victoria’s agriculture.
“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.