MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education, Minister for Agriculture) (11:52): The Andrews Labor government is absolutely committed to safeguarding Victoria’s livestock industry from foot-and-mouth disease. It is no accident that Victoria and Australia remain FMD free. We have established an emergency animal disease planning task force, and it has met on numerous occasions. Last week we announced $10 million in a package to ensure that we can respond swiftly if there is a local detection of an animal disease outbreak. Prevention is our focus as we work with the commonwealth and other states, but preparedness is our highest priority.
The government has been working with farmers across the state to ensure that we have best practice on-farm biosecurity measures in place. Seminars, workshops and webinars are being delivered throughout the state because we are committed to ensuring the industry has the most up-to-date information to detect, diagnose and track the disease as fast as possible, and we are committed to supporting our farming communities. If an outbreak occurs, portable diagnostic facilities will be deployed to outbreak locations to accelerate testing. Mobile incident command centres and the rollout of IT upgrades to track outbreaks and coordinate and facilitate livestock movements are being developed. These new technologies will complement our nation-leading sheep and goat electronic identification system.
I must reinforce how closely we are working with the commonwealth and other states to protect Australia from FMD. Biosecurity is our shared priority, and in the face of a potential threat of FMD and lumpy skin disease we are seeing a new spirit of cooperation with the commonwealth, state ministers and the industry across the board. We must be united in our approach to protect and prepare our livestock and our agricultural industry.