Ljiljanna Ravlich

Ljiljanna Ravlich

Minister for Local Government; Racing and Gaming; Multicultural Interests and Citizenship; Government Enterprises; Minister Assisting the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure; Goldfields-Esperance; Youth

    Government announces EI assistance package

    27/10/2007 11:00 AM

    Racing and Gaming Minister Ljiljanna Ravlich today announced a $1.225million emergency industry assistance package to assist with the State’s ongoing response to the threat of Equine Influenza (EI).

    The quarantine failure that has resulted in the spread of EI through New South Wales and Queensland has devastated the racing industries in those States and put thousands of industry workers out of a job.

    Ms Ravlich said the strength of the initial response from State government regulators and industry participants had helped keep EI out of Western Australia.

    “There is no doubt, however, that the threat to WA is far from over and we need to remain vigilant,” she said

    “This package will provide a multi-faceted approach across all horse industries, focussing on educating the public on the risks, establishing a certified EI isolation facility and ensuring our veterinarians are fully updated in terms of equipment, services and training.

    “While the responsibility for this quarantine failure rests squarely with the Federal Government, we have to do everything in our power to protect our industries and the people who depend upon them.

    “WA’s racing industry alone produces hundreds of millions of dollars of economic activity, particularly over summer carnival time, and one small biosecurity lapse could see this disappear in an instant.”

    The $1.225million package will fund a range of initiatives that will be consistent with the current national containment and eradication policy and benefit all in the equine industries. It will include:
    • $750,000 for an EI awareness/media campaign to ensure the horse industries and the general public are aware of the disease characteristics and the ways in which it can be transmitted;
    • $350,000 to provide for a certified EI isolation facility for the high value thoroughbred, pacing and equestrian industries;
    • $100,000 for veterinary equipment and services associated with EI biosecurity; and
    • $25,000 for the training of veterinarians in EI processes and procedures.
    The Minister said she had yet to receive a response to repeated requests for Federal Government assistance to deal with the ongoing threat, a situation she described as appalling.

    “Federal Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran continues to say that because there is no EI in WA, we are okay,” she said.

    “The Federal Government might be happy to gamble with the livelihoods of Western Australian racing industry workers in this way, but the Carpenter Government is not.

    “Every dollar Racing and Wagering Western Australia is forced to spend on responding to the EI threat is a dollar less in the pockets of industry workers.”

    One of the major risks is for the virus to be brought into the State through a person travelling to WA from an infected State. Ms Ravlich said the Federal biosecurity information campaign, in particular, had been notable by its absence.

    “At the moment, the level of public information available at Queensland and New South Wales airports is non-existent and that is another area in which the Federal Government has clearly failed,” Ms Ravlich said.

    Minister's office: 9213 6800