The Victorian Coalition Government has announced a boost of $9 million for disease surveillance within the state's red meat industries over the next three years.
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said today he had authorised payments of more than $4.6 million from the Cattle Compensation Fund and the Sheep and Goat Compensation Fund for this work. Both are financed by stamp duty on the sale of animals at stockyards.
"This industry contribution will now be matched by government on a dollar for dollar basis, increasing investment in this project to more than $9 million," Mr Walsh said
"An important new initiative is increasing the number of private veterinarians receiving specialised training in animal disease investigation.
"Food outlets will also be monitored to ensure food scraps containing meat, known as swill, are not being supplied to pig producers.
"Swill feeding of pigs is a high risk activity because of the potential for food scraps to spread diseases including foot and mouth disease (FMD)," Mr Walsh said.
Ongoing initiatives include assisting producers to determine the cause of unexplained death of their livestock, with a particular focus on lambs and kids, and diseases in cattle and sheep that have unusual symptoms.
"Victoria remains free from many pests and diseases that affect livestock production in other parts of the world and this favourable biosecurity status provides significant economic, environmental and community benefits," Mr Walsh said
"Disease surveillance is critical to ensure Victoria's livestock sector is well positioned to quickly detect and respond to a disease incursion."
Mr Walsh said today's announcement was in addition to the Government's commitment to biosecurity for the food and fibre sector with a $19.5 million allocation in this year's Budget, with $9 million over four years for red meat research and development.
"The Victorian Coalition Government is serious about disease surveillance and preparedness, to support our food and fibre producers and ensure that Victoria continues to have access to premium markets across the world," Mr Walsh said.