Bangladesh travel

Foot-and-mouth disease: Calls to impose travel restrictions from Bali

A North Queensland senator has warned that unless Australians take foot-and-mouth disease seriously, they will see the cost of everyday items skyrocket.

Australian travelers returning from Bali could face tough restrictions as fears grow over the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

North Queensland Senator Susan McDonald is calling for tougher border restrictions similar to those used during the Covid pandemic, including quarantine procedures for returning passengers, to stop the spread of the disease in its tracks.

The highly contagious disease is spreading rapidly across Indonesia and fears are growing for livestock safety.

“We cannot overestimate the impact of foot and mouth disease should it enter this country,” Ms McDonald told Sunrise on Thursday.

“It’s a cruel disease.”

The senator warned that Australian farmers will have to destroy healthy animals inside a quarantine area.

“Consumers would pay more for red meat, milk, pork,” she said.

“Whatever price we pay now will look cheap in years and months to come.”

She said a week of quarantine for returning travelers should be considered.

If an outbreak were to occur in Australia, it would likely require a massive cull of animals and could cost up to $80 billion nationally in a single year.

The LNP senator explained that unwittingly bringing the disease back into the country is a risk for anyone who has walked the streets of Bali.

“They might think ‘I haven’t been to a farm,’ but what we’re saying is that in Bali you have contact with animals and people who work with animals,” said Mrs McDonald.

“There is manure in which you can walk, drag your suitcase”

“The impact of being wrong is catastrophic, it is of biblical proportions the impact it would have on Australian farmers, Australian animals and Australian consumers.”

NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole said on Wednesday the disease was “right on our doorstep”.

Mr Toole urged travelers to be safe rather than apologetic and to ensure they do not bring contaminated soil into Australia.

He even begged tourists in Bali to leave their shoes behind before heading home.

Foot-and-mouth disease is one of the most serious livestock diseases in the world and affects cloven-hoofed animals such as cattle, sheep and pigs.

An outbreak of foot and mouth disease has not occurred in Australia for 130 years.

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