Resources to deal with diseases

THE state government is establishing portable sample testing and mobile incident centres to bolster the state’s response to any emergency animal disease outbreak.

The government will deliver a $10 million package to build on Victoria’s preparations to respond swiftly to any local detection of animal diseases such as foot-and-mouth or lumpy skin disease.

The support will be tailored to industry and community with the development of a campaign to help stop foot and mouth disease already underway.

Minister for Agriculture Gayle Tierney said livestock industries were extremely valuable, and there must be 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,” Ms Tierney said.

“We will continue engaging with industry, farmers and communities, to ensure they are prepared if an outbreak were to occur.”

If an outbreak occurs, a portable testing lab will be deployed to outbreak locations to allow real-time on-site sample testing.

The funding will also equip farmers with resources and enable them to liaise with Agriculture Victoria as quickly as possible in case of a livestock standstill.

The government is set to establish Mobile Incident Command Centres, and roll-out IT system upgrades to easily track outbreaks and coordinate online permits for livestock movements.

Special training in emergency animal diseases, outbreak management and recovery arrangements will also be rolled out to identified government agency staff and industry.

An additional 49 dedicated emergency animal disease staff are also being recruited to advance response measures already underway.

Agriculture Victoria Chief Veterinary Officer Graeme Cooke said foot-and-mouth disease and lumpy skin disease were 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,” Dr Cooke said.

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