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Back to Research & Development



MLA invests in research and development (R&D) into biosecurity practices that aim to improve the health and welfare of livestock and the productivity and integrity of the Australian red meat industry.

Preventative biosecurity measures reduce the risk of transmitting infectious, endemic or emergency diseases, invasive pests and weeds to livestock between different enterprises, states and countries. These measures complement the biosecurity programs that address the containment of outbreaks if they do occur.

Core activities

MLA’s investments into biosecurity R&D primarily focus on:

  • creating on-farm biosecurity plans that include measures to reduce the risk of introducing and/or spreading an infectious disease, pest or weed onto properties
  • implementing industry biosecurity programs that aim to prevent and control emergency animal diseases
  • Containing disease outbreaks, to prevent spread between businesses, states and countries
  • creating vaccination protocols to prevent and contain the spread of disease
  • monitoring and evaluation of perceived and actual biosecurity risks to the industry.

Benefits to industry

  • Effective biosecurity programs protect the industry’s reputation as a provider of healthy livestock and safe red meat products.
  • Biosecurity programs are designed to prevent the incursion and spread of exotic and endemic infectious diseases, pests or weeds, which ensures the long-term health, sustainability and profitability of the Australian red meat industry.
  • The prevention and inhibition of exotic and endemic diseases, pests and weeds reduce the economic risks to farming businesses and the animal health and welfare implications and maintain the industry’s social licence to operate.
  • Keeping Australia free from exotic disease ensures continued access to overseas markets, which is a valuable competitive advantage.

Best practice biosecurity management

Biosecurity relates to preventive measures designed to reduce the risk of transmission of infectious diseases, invasive pests or weeds.

Biosecurity programs are designed to prevent the spread of infectious disease and invasive pests or weeds between farms as well as protecting Australia from diseases and weeds that occur overseas. These programs also address the containment of disease outbreaks when they occur.

Biosecurity for Australian livestock enterprises include:

Reporting notifiable diseases

A notifiable disease must be reported immediately to relevant authorities. If a producer suspects or can confirm that an animal is showing symptoms of a notifiable disease it must be reported to a local vet or by phoning the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) maintains a national list and state and territory lists of notifiable animal diseases.