Federation Council said they have received correspondence from and communicated with Rivalea Australia in relation to the threat of African swine fever (ASF).
At the final Ordinary Council Meeting of 2019, Councillor Fred Longmire raised the issue of ASF for the mayor to determine as an urgent matter. The matter was discussed and a motion was endorsed that Council actively engage with industry and relevant government agencies on the threat of ASF, and on any mitigation measures proposed, and receive a further report.
ASF is estimated to have already killed 200 million of the world’s pigs.
China has been the hardest hit with 165 outbreaks detected in 32 Provinces and more than 100 million pigs have been reportedly culled.
If an outbreak were to happen in Australia, Australia Pork Limited (APL) research estimates the economic impact would likely be in excess of $2.03 billion over five years.
APL also suggests that if a major breakout were to take place, the jobs of 36,000 Australians would be put at risk.
Despite no reported cases of ASF in Australia, there have been outbreaks just 650 km off shore in Timor Leste. The present threat is what has prompted council and Rivalea to get out on the front foot against any potential outbreak that could occur on Australian shores.
“African swine fever is a very real threat to the sustainability of local farms and the health and welfare of pigs. ASF is a highly contagious and deadly viral disease of domestic and wild pigs, currently spreading through China and South East Asia,” Federation Council Mayor Pat Bourke said.
“Australia remains free from ASF thankfully so far, but from a recent meeting held between staff and Rivalea Australia, council wish to further support Rivalea on this matter. We will seek to have discussions with the relevant State/Federal Government Agencies, to gain a better understanding of measures in place, or proposed, to manage this significant threat.
“Rivalea is a very significant and vital business, located in Corowa, who employ large numbers of our residents. Any major impact on their operations would have major economic and social impacts for the area broadly.
“Pork is safe to eat and people cannot catch ASF from pigs or from pork, it is not harmful in any way to people, but for pigs, unfortunately, there is no cure, and an outbreak would devastate the Australian pork industry and have flow on effects throughout our communities,” the mayor added.
Federation Council is urging the community to be on alert and:
Report sightings of feral pigs to Local Land Services (NSW) or Agriculture Victoria (VIC) or to the feral pig scan website.
If you own pigs, ensure you have a biosecurity plan, and that you comply with the mandatory pig traceability requirements (www.pigpass.australiapork.com.au/faq).
Adhere to farm biosecurity requirements if you are an employee or a business that supplies materials or services to pig farms.
If you are a pig hunter ensure all vehicles, clothing and equipment is washed and disinfected after hunting trips.
Report the GPS location of any groups of dead feral pigs to the EAD Hotline 1800 675888.
Don’t bring pork products into Australia from overseas.