WHILE the Australian Government is in caretaker mode ahead of the Federal election on Saturday May 21, Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud reassured cattle producers the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) had been given permission to do whatever it takes to protect the country from a lumpy skin outbreak.
So far the Federal government has already invested $61 million and recently made the decision to bring in the virus to Australia to be worked on at a secure facility.
"There's about five or six vaccines out there, but we don't know if they're fit for Australian purposes," Mr Littleproud said when on the election campaign in Perth yesterday.
"We had to bring the virus in under secure arrangements in order to do the work on it and get an MRNA vaccine as soon as possible."
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Without our own vaccine, the concern was that if there was an outbreak, Australia would be behind the eightball and three to six months from having an appropriate dose manufactured and ready to inject.
Ultimately that would wreak havoc with trade markets and bring cattle buying and selling to its knees.
Mr Littleproud said they were doing everything they could to be prepared for whatever may come.
"We're working through a strategy with industry, the chief veterinary officer and the Indonesian Government about how we can get more vaccines into cattle in particular areas of Indonesia," he said.
"We've pre-emptively sent some department officials to Timor as we're worried it could spread from Indonesia to there.
"Lastly, we've made it clear that despite caretaker provisions, the Department of Agriculture is to make the decisions necessary and if more money is required they are simply to ask and we will deliver."
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