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Australian pork producers welcome increased biosecurity investments

The Australian government's $370.9 million investment will safeguard the country from exotic pests and disease, including African swine fever.

27 May 2021, at 8:00am

Australian Pork Limited (APL) has welcomed the investment into Australia’s biosecurity system, which includes a $58.6 million investment in Ongoing Frontline Resourcing to Embed the Benefits of the Short-Term African Swine Fever (ASF) Investment.

The investment builds on the $66.6 million ASF Response Package, which funded increased frontline resources, including screening technology, testing and targeted compliance operations.

The announcement is an acknowledgement of the catastrophic threat on Australia’s doorstep, and further fortifies Australia’s defence from this increasing threat.

APL CEO Margo Andrae welcomed the suite of biosecurity measures – which includes strengthened partnerships with industry, companies, importers and the community. Investment in frontline resources and people and modernising our ICT systems, technology and data analytics will provide comfort to Australia’s farmers, who are working hard to protect their farms from dangerous, virulent diseases.

“The transfer of diseases like ASF and foot-and-mouth disease would devastate the industry, close exports markets and damage our industry’s future – worth $5.2 billion and employing 36,000 people across the economy,” Ms Andrae said.

“That’s why these biosecurity investments are so welcome, particularly those that focuses on ASF’s looming threat on Australia’s doorstep.

“The on the ground resources to better manage the risk of pests and diseases entering Australia, and investment and the application of modern technology to better detect and respond to these threats, will form another part of Australia’s biosecurity armoury.

“I commend the Commonwealth, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and Minister Littleproud for this investment. This holistic approach to biosecurity, alongside the work of the agricultural industry and the Biosecurity Futures group, will protect the pork industry and minimise risks to Australia,” she said.

APL has been working closely with the Department of Agriculture, Animal Health Australia and other industry partners on ASF preparedness for more than two years, and recently held a national simulation exercise. The industry has also renewed biosecurity efforts on farms across Australia and is working to protect Australia from the threat of feral pigs, a significant domestic biosecurity threat.

ASF does not directly affect public health or food safety, but is highly infectious and terminal for pigs, posing a significant threat on the entire industry.