Murray Watt announces ‘third prong’ to govt’s response to FMD and lumpy skin disease

Agriculture Minister Murray Watt has announced a “third prong” to the government’s response to foot and mouth disease and lumpy skin disease outbreaks on Australia’s doorstep.

“Taking action now to ensure that we are fully prepared if we were to see an outbreak to occur here,” Mr Watt said during a media conference on Thursday.

“This is the next logical step in our plan around managing the risk of an outbreak and ensuring that we are fully prepared.”

He said experts have assessed the potential risk of a foot and mouth disease incursion in Australia in the next five years as an 11.6 per cent chance and 28 per cent for lumpy skin disease.

“That’s why I have directed the establishment of a new Commonwealth taskforce to thoroughly assess our current level of national preparedness for these diseases and advise of any improvements that might be needed,” Mr Watt said.