House debates

Wednesday, 23 November 2022


Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2022-2023; Consideration in Detail

7:15 pm

Photo of Matt BurnellMatt Burnell (Spence, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

The recent outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease helped bring the importance of strong biosecurity standards and controls to the fore. The agricultural sector, through our livestock, crops and unique natural environment, contributes to a $70 billion export industry. One wrong move, one lapse of judgement, and we could see that all come crashing down, one sector at a time, which would be devastating for so many.

It's not just foot-and-mouth disease that has threatened our industry this year but also lumpy skin disease. This heightened vigilance isn't just a state of mind the federal government is required to be in; it's also one for our state governments and agriculture companies. We can all do our bit to prevent outbreaks from occurring.

I remember a few months ago in my home state when our Royal Adelaide Show required showgoers to avoid touching or feeding livestock without express permission and to not enter animal pavilions if they had been overseas in the past seven days. Even simpler commonsense measures also existed, such as attending with clean shoes and clothes. That's good advice no matter what the circumstances are, but even that can help keep our livestock safe from harm.

Australia's biosecurity system is a strong one, but it has to constantly adapt to new and sometimes unforeseen threats from abroad in order to ensure it will protect the industry and the way of life for the many regional townships that rely on this industry to continue to be on the map. On budget night, I was pleased to see the Treasurer hand down his first budget, which I hope will be his first of many. It is a budget that delivers for agriculture and for keeping the industry safe. This budget includes a substantial level of new and targeted funding for biosecurity. Amongst other reasons, this helps me feel confident that the minister appreciates the importance of strong biosecurity for the regions, including the hundreds of thousands of jobs that the agricultural sector supports.

On the advent of the budget, I have seen many from the other side of the chamber say that the Albanese Labor government does not care about the regions or about agriculture. Their reasoning is because the budget has rolled back their pork-barrelling. I know I'd rather save the pork industry instead, and I'm sure a lot of people out in the regions would too.

In fact, I had the pleasure of joining the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and Senator Grogan to visit some locations a little further up my electorate of Spence's northern border, just past Angaston. We visited Keyneton Station sheep farm and discussed enhancing our livestock traceability as an important part amongst a suite of measures we must take to maintain that air of vigilance needed to preserve an industry of such importance to us both for Australia's exports and domestically for our food security.

The government's work alongside industry and state and territory governments to implement an enhanced EID, or electronic identification system, for sheep and goats in each jurisdiction by 1 January 2025 is going to go a long way to ensuring swift action can be taken to curtail any potential disease outbreaks in our livestock. A $46.7 million co-investment was provided in the budget towards this end because all stakeholders should work collaboratively together and feel invested in an industry that provides us with so much.

This government knows that moving towards EID with sheep and goats will exceed national livestock traceability standards, with a 99.64 per cent accuracy, meaning that, in the terrible event that a disease makes its way through, we will recover significantly faster. The minister also outlined on the day the need for a comprehensive and collaborative national agriculture traceability strategy. This is a strategy that will add value to our agriculture exports down the line. When buyers of our livestock know we keep a clean house it adds value, bringing more value to the farm.

My questions for the minister are: can the minister outline measures in the budget that will go towards strengthening Australia's biosecurity, particularly given the emergence of foot-and-mouth disease in our region; and can the minister also provide an update on the government's election commitment to deliver long-term sustainable funding for biosecurity and why this is important for regional Australia?


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