Foot and Mouth Disease

Ms BATH (Eastern Victoria) (14:33): My question is for the Minister for Agriculture. Minister, following the 2014–15 Exercise Odysseus, which comprehensively examined the threat of foot-and-mouth disease in Australia, Victoria committed to developing a state response and livestock standstill plan. Will the minister release this plan?

Ms TIERNEY ( Minister for Agriculture) (14:33): I thank Ms Bath for her question. It is a good question.
In relation to Victoria’s response to the recommendations from that exercise, I can confirm that we have acted to significantly improve Victoria’s preparedness in line with the recommendations. I am reading this from a letter that I actually sent to Roma Britnell a little while ago:  Following the Exercise, livestock standstill plans were created, including work on identifying the resources
needed to implement the plans and developing training workshops for relevant staff. These plans are being continually updated to meet changing industry conditions, including the current context of increased risk of FMD.  Additionally, work to identify appropriate sites for holding and disposing of displaced livestock is well advanced, and significant training programs have been delivered in operations and incident management. We have also reviewed the Memorandum of Understanding for biosecurity, animal welfare and emergency management arrangements between New South Wales and Victoria, providing certainty around processes along the NSW border.  As I said in this letter to Ms Britnell:  As referred to in your enquiry, Victoria’s approach will be guided by the AUSVETPLAN disease strategy for FMD. This approach is supported by Emergency Management Victoria’s … interagency response structures and the Victorian Government will act in a coordinated fashion to provide a whole of government response. National emergency response arrangements will also be implemented in the event of an FMD incursion. These arrangements are well established and were implemented in 2022, when we were threatened with Japanese encephalitis, and in 2020 with the avian influenza
emergency animal disease responses.

Ms BATH (Eastern Victoria) (14:35): Thank you, Minister. You referenced a number of actions that you say you are doing, but again I am asking on behalf of the industry: will you table these plans so that industry and the community can actually see that you are doing what you say you are doing?

Ms TIERNEY (Minister for Agriculture) (14:36): As I have provided Ms Bath with a very detailed response on what we have done since that exercise was done and indeed we have adopted the recommendations, it is unfortunate that Ms Bath has refused to even listen to my response. I provided a very detailed response that is very action orientated, and it is not a report or a plan that is sitting and collecting dust on a shelf somewhere. It has been very proactive, because Victoria has been the leader in biosecurity, and we will continue to be because we have the capacity, the capabilities and the structures to do so, demonstrated by the task force that we have just established.

Mr Davis: On a point of order, President, the Minister talked a lot about the report, but the very specific question of ‘Will she release it? Will she table it?’ she has completely ignored.

The PRESIDENT: Minister, have you finished? We will move on