Apollo set for take-off

Countryman

Department of Agriculture and Food WA has bolstered its biosecurity preparedness to safeguard the State’s agricultural industries.

The department is organising and hosting Exercise APOLLO, between May 17 and 19 in Bunbury.

Exercise APOLLO is a national emergency response exercise based on a simulated livestock disease outbreak, and building on the the work undertaken as part of Exercise ODYSSEUS — the National Livestock Standstill exercise in 2014.

The department expects Exercise APOLLO will enhance the organisations capability, capacity and preparedness together with industry, to respond to an emergency animal disease outbreak.

The project will be part of the State Government’s $20 million Boosting Biosecurity Defences project and is funded by the State Government’s Royalties for Regions program, as part of the Seizing the Opportunity in Agriculture initiative. Industry and Federal, State and local governments will have the opportunity to participate in the exercise.

The exercise will allow staff to practice emergency response roles and functions and be assessed in a simulated emergency incident response.

It will also provide the department to evaluate its new emergency response business system platform MAX and its operability with other relevant DAFWA systems in a simulated operational emergency environment.

The system has the capability to assess and evaluate the practicality of a disposal plan for large scale livestock destruction in the South West region of WA, including associated resource and operational plans.

DAFWA biosecurity and regulation executive director Kevin Chennell said the exercise was a year in the making.

“The exercise involves Department of Parks and Wildlife, Department of Fire and Emergency Services, WA Police and Department of Health, Department of Environment Regulation, Local councils, Shires and industry for a three day event,” he said.

“The aim is to test the department’s capacity to lead a major incident response to a major livestock disease outbreak, which is specifically foot and mouth disease.

“This will be an actual simulated response to a disease outbreak.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails