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ADF, Border Force called in as government establishes foot-and-mouth disease task force

The Army is being called in to advise the federal government on Australia’s preparedness for a potential outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).

Australia has been free of the disease, which affects pigs, goats, cattle and sheep, for more than a century, but an outbreak detected in Indonesia in May has authorities on high alert.

Agriculture Minister Murray Watt says the new task force will provide urgent advice over the next four weeks on Australia’s response in the event of a potential outbreak.

“The new exotic animal disease preparedness task force will include officials from a range of government departments, including the Australian Defense Force, Australian Border Force and Animal Health Australia,” Senator Watt said in Canberra.

“By bringing together the best expertise from across government, we can ensure that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities if there were to be an outbreak, and that there are no gaps in our response.”