Regional livestock exchange toured

The potential devastating impact of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) was raised by Member for MacKillop Nick McBride when he met with the Regional South Australia and Primary Industries Shadow Minister Nicola Centofanti and fellow Liberal MLC Laura Curran in Naracoorte last week.

Mr McBride and Ms Centofanti toured the Naracoorte Livestock Exchange (saleyards) which has been operating on the corner of Wimmera Highway and Carters Road since 1973.

The local council, which runs the saleyards, is investing $3.8m in 2022/23 on improving facilities, including upgrading the cattle yards, unloading ramps, yard roofing, pens and fencing.

The saleyard is one of regional South Australia’s main livestock selling centres and has an annual average turnover of 85,000 head of cattle and 500,000 sheep, making it a vital contributor to the local economy.

“If FMD was found in the region, the impact would be enormous,” Mr McBride said.

“If just one animal became infected, all stock within a circumference of the infection point would have to be destroyed and the livestock industry would close down across Australia until further assessments were made.

“There are livelihoods at stake here. It’s not just the farmers, it’s the stock agents, the saleyards, transport operators, the Teys and JBS meatworks.

“The impact on our economy would be devastating.”

Mr McBride’s comments supported calls from Ms Centofanti for additional biosecurity officers to be stationed at Adelaide Airport.

“We need an urgent biosecurity staffing boost so that luggage from every traveller from Indonesia can be inspected,” she said.

“We are dealing with a potential catastrophe right on our doorstep, posing an estimated $80b threat to the economy.

“We need coordinated and comprehensive action from both the State and Federal Labor Governments.”

Mr McBride has written to the Minister for Primary Industries Clare Scriven to highlight concerns about the time it has taken to implement biosecurity controls at airports in an effort to stop FMD.

He said the Federal Government announced an outbreak of FMD in Bali on July 5, yet he has been contacted by people returning from Bali who have not been checked upon arrival back into Australia.

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