Fears African swine fever will reach Australia have risen after it was recently detected in Indonesia.
Federal Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie said she was concerned, as Indonesia was a popular destination for Australian tourists.
“There are about 188 flights a week from Indonesia direct into Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Cairns, Perth, Adelaide and Darwin,” Senator McKenzie said.
“Our government has already responded to this global disease threat — to safeguard the 36 000 jobs that rely on our pork industry and to protect Australia’s international trade, built on our reputation for producing safe food and fibre.
“Our government foresaw the threat this disease posed and just last week (December 11) I announced an extra $66.6 million to put 130 more biosecurity officers at our airports to do half a million more passenger screenings and deploy an extra six detector dogs.”
Senator McKenzie said the agriculture department had increased the risk status of flights from Indonesia.
Biosecurity measures have increased and those entering Australia must declare food products and clothing items.
“In less than a year we’ve seized 32 tonnes of pork from air travellers and recent testing showed that about 50 per cent of seized product contained African swine fever,” Senator McKenzie said.
African swine fever has no vaccine and kills about 80 per cent of the pigs it infects.