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Wednesday, 11 August 2004
Page: 2852

Mr McClelland asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, upon notice, on 19 February 2004:

(1) When was the last study undertaken in respect of the potential costs to Australian agriculture and fisheries from the introduction of exotic diseases, plants, animals and people?

(2) Which agency or agencies conducted that study?

(3) What were the findings of that study including estimated costs of exotic diseases, plants, animals and people?

Mr Truss (Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) to (3) The last key study conducted on the potential impacts of exotic diseases and plant introductions into Australia was the Productivity Commission (2002) study on the impact of a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in Australia, following the outbreak of this disease in the UK.

The key findings of the study on the impact of an FMD outbreak in Australia were:

1. Australia is free of major animal diseases due to its geographical location and sound quarantine procedures.

2. An FMD outbreak would lead to the immediate closure of many of Australia's major export markets.

3. There would be a significant flow-on effect to businesses reliant on livestock industry revenue in rural and regional Australia.

4. The estimated cost of a 12-month outbreak was $12.812 billion.