Biosecurity has always been a key priority for agriculture. Now, with foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and lumpy skin disease (LSD) in nearby Indonesia, it is impossible to look past biosecurity as one of our major concerns.
A recent $163.9 million boost for biosecurity ahead of the state budget shows the NSW Government is listening to our calls. It comes after the state Agriculture Minister Dugald Saunders reiterated the importance of biosecurity during a recent webinar hosted by NSW Farmers, which looked at how to grow NSW agriculture to $30 billion by 2030.
As agriculture's worst nightmare, an outbreak of FMD in Australia would be fatal to the '30 by 30' vision. According the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), a widespread FMD outbreak here would have an estimated direct economic impact of around $80 billion.
Australian agricultural exports have accrued enviable status worldwide, and beef is our most successful export. An outbreak of FMD would cause irreparable damage to the so-called clean and green status underpinning our access to export markets around the world. In New South Wales alone, livestock exports were worth over $3.65 billion in 2021.
The state government plays a key coordinating role in the event of a disease outbreak, and we've made calls for stronger awareness and outreach to farmers. The Department of Primary Industries and Local Land Services need to be armed with the resources to find solutions to biosecurity threats, as well as fine-tune our response to incursions.
Ultimately, the federal government is responsible for keeping pests and diseases out. The new Labor government made an election commitment to establishing a long-term sustainable funding model for biosecurity, and we look forward to seeing what happens in that space.
When it comes to biosecurity, we cannot afford to wait or rest on our laurels. The time to act is now.
Have you signed up to The Land's free daily newsletter? Register below to make sure you are up to date with everything that's important to NSW agriculture.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.