(Bloomberg) -- Australia has released its first national biosecurity plan in a bid to protect its environment from pests and diseases that could devastate the agricultural sector.
The National Biosecurity Strategy synchronizes existing state and territory plans to stop potential incursions of animal diseases, as climate change, increasing trade and travel, and changing land uses heighten risks.
“Strong and efficient biosecurity is even more important as we respond to emerging challenges including diseases on our doorstep,” Agriculture Minister Murray Watt said in a statement Tuesday.
Australia has been on high alert for foot-and-mouth disease in its cattle herds as the disease is has ripped through Indonesia in recent months and traces of the virus were found on imported animal products in July. An outbreak in Australia could have an estimated direct economic impact of A$80 billion ($55.8 billion), mostly driven by trade restrictions that could see Australian exporters locked out of more than 150 overseas markets.
READ: What Foot-and-Mouth Threat Could Mean for Australian Beef Supply
The virus is likely to now to persist for a number of years in the Southeast Asian nation. Still, Indonesian authorities appear to be more successively managing the outbreak, particularly in Bali where tens of thousands of Aussie tourist travel each year, Watt said last week.
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