Federal Agriculture Minister Murray Watt

July 20, 2022

The Federal Government has responded to pressure from the agriculture sector and will begin rolling out sanitation foot mats at airports as another layer of protection against the introduction of foot and mouth disease (FMD) into Australia.

Agriculture Minister Murray Watt said he had directed his department to look at what could be done around footwear to complement other measures already in place.

“After careful consideration, we have decided to deploy sanitation foot mats in Australia’s international airports,” Minister Watt said.

“The fact is, there is no biosecurity silver bullet – our biosecurity controls rely on a multi-layered approach to mitigate the risk of FMD.

“These sanitation mats will be a physical reminder to passengers to do the right thing to limit any spread of FMD, and will be used in conjunction with our current measures, such as passenger declaration, 100 per cent profiling of all passengers entering from Indonesia, real-time risk assessments, questioning and shoe cleaning.

“We still encourage Australians to clean their shoes and clothing, and even leave their footwear overseas if they can.”

Following consultation with airports, two styles of mats will be used, with shipping already under way.

The mats will begin to be seen in international terminals this week, starting in Darwin and Cairns.

Travellers arriving in Australia from Indonesia will be asked to walk across the mats to sanitise the soles of their shoes.

The mats will contain a citric acid solution, designed to dislodge any dirt from the sole of the shoe and cover it in the acid.

Travellers will still be asked to declare their contact with farms and livestock, and those with visibly contaminated shoes will continue to be taken to the biosecurity area.

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