The Nationals have moved in State Parliament to protect Victorian farmers from the increased risk of a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) incursion, with a Private Member’s Bill seeking to overturn Labor’s new riverside camping laws.
The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien said The Nationals had introduced their Bill to give farmers the right to veto camping on riverside grazing licenses as well as giving the government the power to prohibit riverside camping altogether if recommended by the Chief Veterinary Officer.
“The Nationals and Liberals opposed the Labor Government’s Crown land riverside camping rules from the get-go, in part due to our concerns about biosecurity on farms.
“With the heightened risk of an FMD incursion from Indonesia, it is even more important to ensure that farmers who have Crown land frontage can protect their property and stock. That’s why we introduced legislation to this effect and it was very disappointing that the Labor Party not only didn’t support it but used its numbers in State Parliament to even prevent it being debated.”
Mr O’Brien said The Nationals had sought and received a briefing from Agriculture Victoria and the Chief Vet on Monday and would continue to pressure the Government to ensure the necessary plans and resources are in place to deal with any prospective outbreak.
“There is no need for panic about the prospect of foot and mouth coming into Australia from Indonesia, but we must be absolutely on our guard and ensure that both federal and state governments do everything in their power to prevent any incursion.
“It is estimated that a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak would cost more than $80 billion in Australia and there is no doubt the threat is weighing on the minds of farmers and rural people generally.
“We want to ensure that the Government is doing everything it can to prepare for any incursion and make sure if it does occur that it can be stamped out very quickly.
“It’s disappointing that Labor has chosen to stick with its flawed riverside camping rules which are just another risk for farmers throughout the state.”