NT participates in a biosecurity event to keep cattle industry thriving

Image credit: Nicole Manison, LinkedIn

The Northern Territory Government is enhancing biosecurity defence to maintain cattle industry growth, with 10 DITT staff from the Berrimah Laboratory Research team participating in the nationwide Exercise Waterhole.

The event aims to evaluate Australia’s animal health laboratory network’s readiness to handle a significant emergency animal disease outbreak.

In a hypothetical scenario, the team responded to a cattle outbreak of lumpy skin disease, followed by a concurrent outbreak of highly virulent avian influenza in the southern states.

The exercise aimed to confirm Australia’s laboratory capacity to handle multiple high-impact emergency animal diseases and evaluate communication between Australian animal health laboratories.


It was also an opportunity to discover any limitations that may affect animal health labs and the impact of regulations in the event of an emergency.

“Exercise Waterhole and others like it, are an important part of enhancing the Territory’s preparedness and capability to respond to biosecurity emergencies,” Minister for Agribusiness Nicole Manison said.

“We are at the front line of the defence of our nation for ant disease outbreaks, and real time exercises put us to the test and ensure we are match fit for any outbreaks,” Minister Manison stated.

Meanwhile, the Northern Territory Government and Universitas Gadjah Mada have signed a Letter of Intent to extend the successful Indonesia-Northern Territory Biosecurity Program in 2024.

The program, launched in 2022, offers Indonesian students a chance to enhance their biosecurity networks through a Territory skills exchange at Victoria River Downs Station, Katherine Research Station, and Berrimah Farm.

NT government staff also visited Indonesia, attending lectures, visiting research stations, and learning technical and practical skills to enhance their biosecurity knowledge.

The Territory Government, the region’s strategic partnership highlights its strengths and underscores the importance of enhancing biosecurity knowledge, skill sharing, training, and research and development opportunities.

“The Indonesia-Northern Territory Biosecurity Program is a wonderful example of mutual interest and partnership between the Northern Territory and Indonesia, which helps to build capability and capacity,” Minister Manison said.

“With the very real threat of Lumpy Skin Disease and Foot and Mouth disease, preparation is paramount to protect our industry, livestock and jobs,” she added.