Federal Agriculture Minister Murray Watt

July 25, 2022

The Federal Government has set up “Biosecurity Response Zones” at international airports in a bid to lower the risk of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) entering Australia from Indonesia.

Director of Biosecurity Andrew Metcalfe established the zones on Friday afternoon, the first time this has been done under Section 365 of the Biosecurity Act 2015.

Federal Agriculture Minister Murray Watt said this step-up was the latest measure in the government’s biosecurity response.

“These zones strengthen and widen the powers of biosecurity officers to direct passengers to use foot mats and other biosecurity control measures such as the cleaning of shoes,” he said.

Minister Watt said all passengers returning from Indonesia were now being “risk assessed” by border officials.

He said nearly 3700 travellers were more intensively “assessed or questioned” by biosecurity officers at Melbourne Airport on Saturday alone.

Airports that receive direct flights from Indonesia will begin to roll out sanitisation foot mats this week.

Darwin, Adelaide, Perth, Sydney and Melbourne Airports have all taken delivery of the foot mats with some having started testing them prior to use, with other airports expected to follow in the coming days.

All mail incoming from Indonesia and China is also now being screened for meat products.

“As we have said all along, we believe the greater risk of FMD getting into Australia is via incorrectly or illegally labelled meat products from overseas,” Minister Watt said.

“We have now increased our surveillance of mail from Indonesia and China so that every parcel is screened and so we can identify any potential biosecurity risks.

“All up, our new measures mean we have the strongest response to a biosecurity threat in Australian history.”

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