Disease outbreak could cost $13b

June 12, 2002 Courier Mail by Malcolm Cole
AN outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Australia would cost the nation up to $13 billion and impact most severely in Queensland.

Research conducted by the Productivity Commission into the impact of a foot and mouth outbreak says beef, lamb, wool and dairy export markets would be destroyed and up to half a million animals slaughtered. The disease would hit hardest in Queensland -- Australia's major beef producer -- which could lose more than $5 billion from a 12-month outbreak, even if it occurred in another state.

The commission has recommended a series of internal quarantine zones in response to any outbreak. If accepted by Australia's trading partners, the foot and mouth-free zones could reduce the losses by two thirds.

But if trading partners did not recognise the zonal system, the costs from a major outbreak would be between $8 billion and $13 billion over 10 years.

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