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Travellers called on to do their part to protect WA from FMD threat

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Adam PoulsenCountryman
A new campaign is asking travellers to do their part to keep WA free from devastating pests and diseases.
Camera IconA new campaign is asking travellers to do their part to keep WA free from devastating pests and diseases. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

With school holidays around the corner, the State Government has launched a biosecurity awareness campaign urging travellers to help keep WA free from foot-and-mouth disease.

The campaign, dubbed Biosecurity — We Can All Do Our Part, includes advertisements on radio, TV, print and social media.

The ads highlight how anyone re-entering WA or travelling in the regions can take a few simple steps to protect the State’s primary industries from a range of devastating pests and diseases, including FMD.

They include ensuring shoes and clothing are clean when returning from overseas or travelling in the regions, checking what items are allowed to be brought in by mail and declaring any listed items.

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Anyone returning from a country with FMD, which is endemic throughout South East Asia, has been urged to avoid farms and livestock for seven days after arriving in WA.

WA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan said there had been five new “biosecurity incidents” in WA in the past 12 months alone involving American serpentine leafminer, polyphagous shot-hole borer, potato spindle, blueberry rust and Japanese encephalitis.

WA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan said there had been five new “biosecurity incidents” in WA in the past 12 months.
Camera IconWA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan said there had been five new “biosecurity incidents” in WA in the past 12 months. Credit: Daniel Wilkins/The West Australian

“With several biosecurity threats knocking on the State’s door, like foot-and-mouth disease, lumpy skin disease and banana freckle to name but a few, it has never been more important for West Australians to pull together and take action to minimise these risks,” she said.

“While Indonesia is making progress in FMD control, the heightened risk is still there and we need West Australians to be conscious of the role they can play.

“The campaign reinforces these measures, harnessing the collective effort of all West Australians in protecting our farmers and pastoralists’ livelihoods, their animals and crops, agribusinesses, regional communities and the economy.”

Ms MacTiernan said freedom from major pests and diseases enabled WA to access high-value markets throughout the world, which were crucial for the State’s export-based agricultural sector.

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