Agricultural industry leaders have taken a tour behind the scenes at Sydney International Airport to scope out Australia's biosecurity measures.
Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, and Australia's Director of Biosecurity, Andrew Metcalfe AO said the visit was a chance for industry leaders to see biosecurity protections in action.
"Since foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) was detected in Indonesia, we've made it our priority to ramp up biosecurity measures," Mr Metcalfe said.
"These measures include new biosecurity officers in airports and mail centres, risk-profiling 100 per cent of passengers that come into Australia from Indonesia, sanitation foot mats in all international airports, and FMD messaging at airports and on returning flights from Indonesia.
"We've also granted our biosecurity officers additional powers under the Biosecurity Act 2015 to direct all travellers from Indonesia to walk over sanitising foot mats.
"Travellers are now asked if they have been in Indonesia during the past seven days and if they answer 'yes' are referred for biosecurity assessment.
"Industry leaders saw our processes at work during one of the busiest times of the day at Sydney International Airport. From 6am, thousands of passengers disembark and go through our biosecurity systems.
"We're proud of the work we are doing to keep Australia's biosecurity systems strong, and today we were able to reassure industry that we are doing everything in our power to prevent an FMD incursion.
"We know an FMD incursion would be utterly devastating for Australian farmers and could cost up to $80 billion to the agricultural sector over ten years.
"We hope this tour has allowed representatives from across the meat and livestock industry to be reassured that we have the issue in hand."
- The tour of Sydney International Airport was organised by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and Meat & Livestock Australia, and was attended by representatives of Australian Pork Limited, Wilmot Cattle Co, Australian Wool Innovation, the Australian Meat Industry Council, and Integrity Systems Company.