03 September 2023, Australia: As Australia’s Acting Chief Veterinary Officer, I can confirm that lumpy skin disease (LSD) has never been detected in Australia and we remain free from the disease.
The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has finalised an investigation into the health status of Australia’s northern cattle herds. The investigation was conducted to provide the assurances that Indonesia and Malaysia requested in response to LSD being detected in a small number of Australian-origin cattle after they had arrived and spent time in Indonesia.
The department, with the support of the WA, Qld and NT governments, along with industry, has conducted rapid diagnostic testing of more than 1,000 head of cattle across northern Australia. This occurred across numerous properties spanning WA, Qld and the NT, across a distance of approximately 2,800 km.
Our testing did not detect LSD in Australia and our disease status has not changed.
The negative test results further highlight Australia’s robust systems for the ongoing monitoring of animal diseases, including LSD.
Indonesia and Malaysia have been provided the results of the testing in a technical report that each country is now considering. We continue to work closely with our Indonesian and Malaysian counterparts, including engagement at a technical official-to-official level to discuss the next steps. The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator the Hon Murray Watt has expressed to his Indonesian counterpart, Australia’s commitment to this technical work reaching a timely and practical solution to maintain this mutually beneficial trade.
We are awaiting advice from the relevant Indonesian and Malaysian authorities on the lifting of their cattle and buffalo import restrictions.
I would like to thank the WA, Qld and NT governments, as well as industry participants, who took part in this testing exercise. It illustrates the cooperation that is possible between Australian governments and industry.
Australia continues to trade livestock and animal products internationally, including live cattle to Indonesia.
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