Racing and Gaming Minister Ljiljanna Ravlich has welcomed the lifting of the ban on the movement of horses announced by the Minister for Agriculture and Food today.
Ms Ravlich said the horse racing industry in Western Australia could return to normal now that the final test results had returned showing the State was free of the Equine Influenza (EI) virus.
“I am pleased that the ban on the movement of horses has been lifted because it means that our racing industry can now get back on track,” she said.
“This means that track work can recommence in preparation for this weekend’s races and the industry can resume campaigns aimed at the major race meets over the next month, such as the Kalgoorlie Race Round.”
The Minister paid tribute to the WA racing industry for the way in which it responded to the disease threat.
“In this era of globalisation, we are more vulnerable than ever to infectious disease incursions and the industry’s awareness of the potential impact of an EI outbreak and their subsequent response was immediate and unified,” she said.
“From vets and trainers to jockeys, strappers and farriers, there was a real sense of working towards a clear common goal.
“I would also like to thank Racing and Wagering Western Australia for their leadership in co-ordinating the dissemination of information to the industry and for their strategic approach in working with the Department of Agriculture and Food to help achieve this outcome.”
Ms Ravlich said the ongoing challenge would be to ensure any potential risks to the State’s EI free status were identified and a zero tolerance approach was maintained into the future.
“The racing industry is a major contributor to the WA economy. Last year, it turned over $1.48billion and we need to do everything we can to protect the industry and the people whose livelihoods depend on it,” she said.
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