When Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole put the call out for foot and mouth as well as lumpy skin disease mRNA vaccines to be in production by August, 2023, it raised a few eyebrows.
Many people involved in the livestock industry politely called the deadline "ambitious" and had concerns it would not be met on time.
While that may still be the case, the government has taken a major step forward in developing an mRNA vaccine for FMD and lumpy skin.
In a world first, sheep at the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute, Camden, were inoculated with an mRNA vaccine for border disease this week.
Pestivirus, the virus which causes border disease, shares many of the characteristics of FMD and lumpy skin, making it an ideal trial vaccine.
Due to this relevance, it is believed that if the vaccine proves effective it can be adapted to target FMD and lumpy skin very quickly.
Mr Toole said he was pleased to see progress being made on the vaccine development.
"We make no apologies for being aggressive with our deadlines for these vaccines because we know how devastating an incursion of FMD or lumpy skin would be for our livestock industry," Mr Toole said.
"While our first and most important mission is to keep these diseases out, in the event the worst happens we want to be able to arm producers with an mRNA vaccine that could mean returning to freedom status and restoring market access much sooner.
"Once we test the efficacy of this trial shot for border disease, we will be able to quickly adapt the mRNA vaccine, which is incredibly valuable in our preparedness against a potential incursion."
Australian Meat Industry Council CEO Patrick Hutchinson said that while the trial was good news there were other factors to consider.
"We're always happy to see advancements in this area, but we need to remind people there is no requirement to vaccinate if we do not have the disease," he said.
"Having an mRNA vaccine for FMD will be nice to have in the back pocket but this country will not be undertaking a prophylactic vaccination - it would be a market catastrophe."
Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders said the trial was an important step in the state's biosecurity defence.
"NSW is leading the way in Australia's fight against FMD and lumpy skin diseases, and this milestone is just another important initiative that bolsters our already strong defence against a potential incursion," Mr Saunders said.
"We have invested $229 million in biosecurity measures this financial year alone, which is the largest investment of a single jurisdiction in Australia."