Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke has called for travellers coming back from overseas to play their part in keeping the highly contagious Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) out of Australia.
Ms Cooke said FMD has never been closer to Australia – with the disease now spreading through Bali and other parts of Indonesia – and it’s critical for everyone to play their part in protecting our biosecurity.
“With flights to Bali now almost back at pre-pandemic levels, it’s critical we get the messaging out there about the ramifications an incursion of FMD would have on our state’s primary industries sector,” Ms Cooke said.
“If you are returning from FMD infected parts of the world, the messaging is clear: do the right thing, declare where you’ve been, make sure clothes and shoes are clean and free from soil and manure and steer clear from anywhere there might be livestock for seven days upon your return.”
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said the impact of an FMD outbreak in Australia would be disastrous for the livestock sector, the economy and regional communities.
“We have kept Australia FMD free for more than 130 years, but it is now on our doorstep and we all have a role to play to keep our industry safe,” Mr Toole said.
“Nobody wants to be the person who brings in a disease that would devastate our livestock industry, cost the economy $80 billion, and shatter regional communities for years to come.
“The message is simple: if you have friends or family holidaying in Bali or other parts of Indonesia, hit them up on social media or send them a text and make sure they understand the risks and do the right thing when they come home.”
Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders said the NSW Government has been working hard to bolster biosecurity to keep the agricultural sector safe, with record investment to drive active surveillance, rapid diagnostics and effective traceability systems to monitor, track and respond to threats.
“Biosecurity has been my top priority since becoming Agriculture Minister,” Mr Saunders said.
“An incursion of Foot and Mouth Disease would have severe consequences for Australia’s animal health and trade. Significant economic losses would be felt, with restrictions being placed on both domestic and international markets for live animals, meat and animal products.
“An uncontrolled outbreak could lead to the immediate closure of our meat export markets, and control costs have been estimated at more than $80 billion.”
Mr Saunders said while Australia has an internationally recognised capability to deal quickly and effectively with emergency animal disease outbreaks – including the large outbreak of equine influenza in 2007 and the outbreaks of avian influenza in 2012 and 2013 – primary producers must know what to be on the lookout for when it comes to protecting their livestock.
“We’re encouraging primary producers to engage in detailed contingency planning, to be overly cautious with people who come into contact with their livestock and monitor closely for signs of FMD which include blisters in and around the mouth area, drooling and limping,” he said.
“I have requested the Department of Primary Industries and Local Land Services ramp up their work with farmers to recognise the signs of Foot and Mouth Disease in their stock.
“If livestock exhibit any unusual signs consistent with FMD, they must be reported immediately to the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.”
FMD affects all cloven-hoofed animals including cattle, sheep, goats, deer and pigs. It can be carried by live animals as well as in residual soil left on shoes, clothing and equipment.
For more information on Foot and Mouth Disease, visit: https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/animals-and-livestock/beef-cattle/health-and-disease/viral-diseases/fmd
Primary producers in the Cootamundra electorate could benefit from the NSW Government’s $125 million investment in the Primary Industries Productivity and Abatement Program to drive sustainable land management, boost productivity and help reduce emissions.
Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said this announcement is great news for the region as it will create new opportunities for farmers and enable them to be directly involved in the lower carbon economy.
“The NSW Government has recognised Regional NSW is the engine room of the State and primary producers are key to pumping more than $13 billion into the NSW economy each year,” Ms Cooke said.
The Primary Industries Productivity and Abatement Program has three focus areas:
- $52 million to develop market and industry foundations, including trusted and transparent data, metrics and frameworks to assess carbon and biodiversity outcomes;
- $72 million to build critical mass and capacity, including incentives for land managers to reduce emissions at scale; and
- $1 million for accelerating finance for natural capital and low carbon farming, by working with the finance sector to increase investments in natural capital and low carbon farming.
The Program will invest in improving carbon management on farm land, public land and Aboriginal-managed lands across the State.
Treasurer and Minister for Energy Matt Kean said primary producers and land managers are playing an important role in helping NSW achieve its goal of reducing emissions by 50 per cent by 2030 and achieving net zero by 2050.
Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW Dugald Saunders said the program is all about building economic resilience and creating jobs in regional communities, by encouraging sustainable farming practices through grants programs and partnerships with financial institutions.
Minister for the Environment James Griffin said the funding will allow primary producers and land managers to develop new revenue streams through carbon markets while also achieving biodiversity and natural capital benefits for NSW.
More info on the program: www.energysaver.nsw.gov.au/netzeroland
Country shows in Cowra, Gundagai and Woodstock are coming back bigger than ever in 2022, thanks to NSW Government support through the Country Shows Support Package.
Member for Cootamundra, Steph Cooke said the Country Shows Support Package has delivered funding for three shows in the Cootamundra electorate including $30,000 for the 2022 Cowra Spring Show, $27,919 for the 2022 Gundagai Show and $30,000 for the 2022 Woodstock Memorial Show.
“These grants will provide certainty to show organisers to lock in suppliers, hire equipment and purchase goods, which is also great news for local businesses,” Ms Cooke said.
“Our local shows are a fantastic tradition and this grant will ensure they continue to delight people and be a part of our history for many generations to come.”
“I encourage everyone to get behind their local show and see all the amazing things they have to offer” Ms Cooke said.
“From best grown squash, to wood chopping, petting zoos and watching which dog takes out best in show, there is something for everyone at our country and agricultural shows and it is something the whole family can enjoy together”
“Just recently I attended the 2022 Gundagai show to help out as I have done for the past five years, and it was absolutely amazing seeing so many people enjoying what the show had to offer.”
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said the $5 million Country Shows Support Package provides a funding opportunity for the 190 agricultural shows that are planned across NSW in 2022.
“It’s been a tough few years for country shows, with drought, bushfires, storms, floods and COVID-19 disrupting plans, but as they say, the show must go on and these grants are helping make that happen,” Mr Toole said.
“Country shows are the heartbeat of so many rural communities – they not only celebrate the best of the best in the community but allow visitors to experience the tastes, sights and sounds of the bush.
“It’s also a big win for competitors who have spent years perfecting events like wood-chopping, show jumping or baking, as they can now focus on earning the points needed to compete at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.”
The $5 million Country Shows Support Package is part of the NSW Government’s $200 million Regional Recovery Package, which will deliver long term support and certainty for the regions as the state reopens.
Applications are open until Friday, 29 April 2022, or when funding is exhausted. For further information, including program guidelines and eligibility criteria, go to: www.nsw.gov.au/CountryShows.