By Joanna Woodburn
AMCO Matting rallies to help protect Australia from foot-and-mouth disease - ABC News
- Lake Cargelligo business chosen to design sanitation mats to prevent foot-and-mouth disease
- 120 mats have been distributed to airports around Australia
- Their special design dislodges dirt from soles and then sanitises
It was a Friday when a small business at Lake Cargelligo was asked to hustle.
Its mission was to create more than 100 sanitation mats to be distributed to 11 of the country's major airports by the following Tuesday.
They would be used to clean international travellers' shoes and capture any trace of foot-and-mouth.
AMCO Matting manager Dan Small said it was "pretty hectic".
"We had the signed contract from the government on Monday morning and by Tuesday lunchtime all the mats were collected and picked up," he said.
The company was chosen because of its experience in the industry but it had to quickly scale up the size of its mats to cope with the sheer number of feet that
would pass over them.
NSW Agriculture Minister Dugald Saunders said he understood it was a "pretty crazy day" at the factory to get the mats ready.
"I think now it'll be a monitoring thing as to how well those mats last, how often they need to be rotated and whether there needs to be more stock manufactured," Mr Saunders said.
Mr Small said the mats were designed to clean shoes as much as possible.
"There's a dam of some sort which holds water, or sanitiser or acid and then there's bristles or some sort of textured bottom to the mat that you can wipe your shoes that also gets up into the holes or the soles of the tread of your shoes or boots," he said.
"In doing that it immerses the bottom of your shoe and helps clean out any mud or muck or debris."
The NSW government says it expects the mats to remain in place at Australia's airports for the foreseeable future.
Mr Saunders said the mats were a key part of the overall fight to protect the country's borders.
"They're not by any means thought to be the saviour of keeping FMD out of Australia," Mr Saunders said.
"It's not a fail safe measure but it's part of that process, the awareness campaign that people are actually walking over a special mat designed to help keep things at bay."
Grass roots to global
The small manufacturing firm was founded by a family with roots in the agriculture industry.
Mr Small's father, Will, set it up in 1996 when his own farming business was struggling.
"Obviously we fully understand what a risk [foot-and-mouth disease] is," Mr Small said.
"Half our business is based on ag industries anyway, abattoirs and dairy processing, so we'd be losing a fair chunk of our customers if it did get into Australia."