The Carpenter Government has welcomed the announcement today that Australia has declared itself free of equine influenza (EI).
Agriculture and Food Minister Kim Chance and Racing and Gaming Minister Ljiljanna Ravlich praised all sectors of the equine industry in Western Australia, saying they had done an excellent job of keeping EI out of the State.
“I also congratulate New South Wales and Queensland on an outstanding job to contain and eradicate the disease, something other countries had not been able to do,” Mr Chance said.
“Since August 2007, the whole country has been working together on the equine influenza eradication effort.
“Here in WA, staff from the Department of Agriculture and Food worked closely with the horse industry to implement biosecurity measures to ensure the equine influenza did not spread to this State.
“Under the strict importation conditions, a total of 591 horses entered WA (after August 24, 2007) and travelled to 19 post entry isolation facilities without incident.
“Import restrictions were lifted on March 10, 2008, when Australia was declared provisionally free of EI.”
The Minister said 38 department staff also travelled to Queensland and New South Wales, for a total of 423 days, to assist with the eradication program.
The department would continue to work with the racing and recreational horse industries to ensure preparedness for any future type incidents.
Racing and Gaming Minister Ljiljanna Ravlich singled out the horse racing industry, praising the speed and co-ordination of the response to the threat.
“The excellent response by our regulators and industry participants has been highlighted by the findings of the report, which clearly showed the devastating impact EI had caused to the New South Wales and Queensland racing industries,” Ms Ravlich said.
The Minister praised the efforts of Racing and Wagering Western Australia in the fight against EI.
“RWWA in particular provided strong leadership and effective co-ordination of the threat management within the thoroughbred and harness racing industries,” she said.
More information on horse entry conditions for WA is available in the Movement of Stock to WA document on the department’s website: http://www.agric.wa.gov.au/content/aap/q/equine.htm
Agriculture and Food Minister's office - 9213 6700 Racing and Gaming Minister's office - 9213 6800