Released 08/03/2017

Australia enjoys a clean, green and healthy reputation but what would happen if we had a major animal disease outbreak in our livestock herds?

An outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease could cost more than $50 billion over 10 years. The sheep, wool, beef, pork and dairy industries would be devastated, and access to export markets could be lost for years.

Exercise Argus will ensure the ACT is ready to respond quickly should an outbreak of such a disease occur.

This week more than 50 ACT Government staff, in partnership with ACT rural landholders, will be conducting a biosecurity training exercise to improve preparedness in the event of an outbreak of a serious exotic animal disease such as foot-and-mouth disease.

“Exercises like this are a vital part of maintaining and improving Australia’s preparedness and ability to respond to an emergency animal disease outbreak,” Stephen Hughes, ACT Biosecurity Senior Manager, said today. “It is important to note it is an exercise only and is not in response to a real outbreak and there is no reason for the community to be alarmed in any way.

“Comprehensive arrangements are in place to respond to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, however continued prevention and preparedness remains a national priority.

“Everyone has a role in preventing an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. Even if you don’t own or work with livestock, you need to consider the biosecurity requirements for online purchases and goods bought during overseas travel,” Mr Hughes said.

People who own or work around animals should always use good farm biosecurity practices. A comprehensive farm biosecurity toolkit can be obtained from

If you notice signs of the disease, report it immediately to your local vet or the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

Exercise Argus will take place at the Ron Reynolds Training Centre, Strangeways St Curtin on 9-10 March 2017. The media is invited to attend but asked to contact Ms Mayumi Smith on 0402 780 981 first.

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Section: ACT Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate | Media Releases

Media Contacts

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Mayumi Smith

0402 780 981

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