Australia to push ahead with national sheep and goat electronic identification to prepare for disease incursions
The NSW Government has received unanimous support for the development of a national, industry-led mandatory sheep and goat electronic identification (eID) system during a meeting of Australian Agriculture Ministers yesterday.
Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders said there is now a strong mandate to start working on how best to implement a national system for sheep and goats.
“Individual traceability for sheep and goats will be critical in the event of an emergency disease outbreak like Foot and Mouth Disease in Australia,” Mr Saunders said.
“Today’s agreement is a major leap towards closing all gaps in our national biosecurity system.
“Recent detections of Foot and Mouth Disease fragments in Melbourne and Adelaide are a frightening reminder of the need to ramp up our biosecurity controls.
“It’s also great to see NSW Farmers throw their weight behind a national eID system for sheep and goats during an emergency vote at their annual conference this week.
“This shows great collaboration from industry and producers to address the Foot and Mouth Disease threat at our border.”
Mr Saunders said a national framework will be urgently developed by federal and state agricultural departments with industry input for consideration at the next meeting of agriculture ministers.
“My commitment to sheep and goat producers is that they will have their voices heard during all stages of the implementation and development of a national traceability system.”
Mr Saunders also welcomed an announcement yesterday by the federal government to add sanitiser foot mats at all international airports in Australia, along with confirmation that foot mats will also be rolled out at departure terminals in Indonesia.
“NSW has been prosecuting the case for increased biosecurity measures like foot mats at international airports, and while the steps taken by the federal government are positive, there is definitely more that can be done to protect our shores.
“I am concerned to hear about travellers coming back from Indonesia who are not being stopped and checked for traces of the FMD virus, which is why I’ll continue to call for 100 per cent of people returning from hot spots like Bali to have their luggage inspected thoroughly.”
For more information on Foot and Mouth Disease, visit the Department of Primary Industries.