I’m sure you agree they have a lot in common. I sympathise with Mr Newman and the Nixon family who recently penned letters to the editor outlining their concerns with the proposed rail trail being a major risk in the spread of livestock diseases, noxious weeds and on farm security, fire risks to name a few. Mr Newman made mention of foot and mouth, possibly the most serious of all livestock diseases. I read with interest a recent major newspaper story stating that five hikers who recently returned from Nepal did not follow protocol in regard to decontamination of footwear by custom officials on their return to Australia. Just for the record, Nepal is an endemic FMD country. Is this an isolated incident? Probably not.
In 2001, FMD outbreak in the United Kingdom caused financial losses of more than 19 billion pounds. It now appears it’s not a case of if but when FMD is found in Australia. This disease, if undetected in the initial stage, has the potential to cripple our country overnight. Millions of livestock, sheep, cattle, pigs, goats etc would be slaughtered. Our wildlife would be destroyed. Our vast landscape and feral animal population would make this disease almost impossible to eradicate. There would be no wool industry. Rural livelihoods would be ruined.
The disrespect shown by the Tourism sector toward rural Australia is obvious. A similar feeling is apparent from those who have voiced their support of the rail trail in the local press. No fence will prevent the spread of major viral and bacterial diseases.