Mark McGowan has doubled down on claims Australians should not be banned from travelling to Bail, despite the rampant spread of foot-and-mouth disease in Indonesia. FMD was confirmed in Bali on July 5, heightening the risk of the extremely contagious livestock disease reaching Australia and prompting calls for a temporary travel ban on the tourist mecca. At a July 14 press conference in Perth, the WA Premier told reporters such a measure was an “extreme option” and not feasible. “I suppose we could ban people going to Bali and Indonesia; I don’t think that is really feasible at this point time for us to do that,” he said. “That’s probably the extreme option.” Mr McGowan appeared to harden his stance two days later, telling The West Australian it would be “very difficult” to stop flights to Indonesia after a two-year ban on overseas travel due to COVID-19. “We (Australia) just opened up,” he said. “We have secured direct flights to Jakarta. “It’s a matter for the Commonwealth, but it would be a very difficult thing to ban people from travelling to Bali after we have had two years of people not travelling anywhere.” Mr McGowan admitted authorities were caught in a “difficult situation” but urged travellers to take precautions and “do the right thing”. “It (FMD) could be devastating to the agriculture industry so I’d encourage people to take care if they go to Indonesia,” he said. Federal Agriculture Minister Murray Watt has ruled out a travel ban, saying he had received advice it was “not necessary”. The Federal Government has significantly ramped up biosecurity measures in a bid to stop the disease being brought back to Australia on the shoes and clothes of returning travellers. Extra signage has been placed at airports, biosecurity officers have been boarding all planes arriving from Indonesia, and passengers have been subjected to more targeted interventions and luggage inspections. Last week, the Federal Government committed $9m for 18 new biosecurity officers to be stationed at Australian airports. A further $5m will go towards on-the-ground assistance in Indonesia, Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea. The WA Government has employed 22 additional biosecurity officers at a cost of $15 million in response to the threat. Mr Watt — who flew to Jakarta last week to discuss the FMD response with Indonesian ministers — has dismissed calls for mandatory disinfectant foot baths for returning travellers. The National Farmers Federation has suggested returning travellers simply bin their shoes, a move the WA Premier said would be hard to enforce. “Demanding everyone throw out all their shoes is something that will be very difficult to enforce and something people wouldn’t adhere to,” Mr McGowan said. FMD is endemic across South East Asia including Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. A spokeswoman for the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry told Countryman travellers regularly returned to Australia from countries affected by FMD. “Australia has strict biosecurity protocols in place to prevent high risk materials, such as contaminated equipment or clothing, animals and animal products being brought in by travellers who may have been exposed to diseased animals,” the spokeswoman said. FMD has been spreading rapidly throughout Indonesia since early May, with more than 230,000 cases confirmed across more than 20 provinces. An outbreak in Australia would shut down the nation’s meat, wool, dairy and live export trades overnight and cost the economy up to $80 billion.