Aussie airports to deploy sanitation mats

Sanitation mats will be rolled out at international airports in an effort to stop foot and mouth disease entering Australia.

It’s the latest measure by the federal government to prevent an outbreak of the livestock disease on Australian shores.

Indonesia has been grappling with the spread of the disease which was recently detected in Bali, a popular holiday destination for Australian travellers.


If allowed to spread in Australia, the disease is predicted to cause an $80 billion hit to the economy over ten years.

Agriculture Minister Murray Watt said the mats would add another layer of defence against an outbreak.

But Australians returning from the region should still clean their shoes and clothing, or leave their footwear overseas if possible, he said.

“There is no biosecurity silver bullet,” Senator Watt said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Our biosecurity controls rely on a multi-layered approach to mitigate the risk of FMD (foot and mouth disease).”

The mats will be rolled out this week, starting at Darwin and Cairns airports.

They are intended to be a physical reminder to travellers about the risk of the disease, Senator Watt said.

Travellers arriving in Australia from Indonesia will be asked to walk across the mats to sanitise their shoes.

The mats contain a citric acid solution, designed to dislodge any dirt from the sole of the shoe and cover it in the acid.

Other biosecurity measures include passenger declarations, profiling of all travellers entering from Indonesia, real time risk assessments, questioning and shoe cleaning.

A $14 million biosecurity package was announced by the government last week for more frontline defences in airports and mail centres as well as support for Indonesia and neighbouring countries to combat the spread.

Senator Watt is set to meet with his state and territory counterparts for the first joint meeting in eight months to discuss further measures.

© AAP 2022