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Tuesday, 10 December 2002
Page: 7671

Senator O'Brien asked the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, upon notice, on 18 November 2002:

(1) What is the cost of Australia's membership of the International Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Bank.

(2) What assessment has been made of its adequacy to meet Australia's needs.

(3) What alternatives are available.

Senator Ian Macdonald (Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation) —The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) Approximately $175,000 per annum over the last four years.

(2) Two major reports were commissioned by The Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (AFFA) to firstly assess Australia's technical needs for foot and mouth disease vaccine (Foreman Report of December 2000) and secondly to develop business options for commercial supplies of FMD vaccine (Baron Report of February 2002). From these reports the decision was made that the current International Vaccine Bank (IVB) is not sufficient to meet Australia's needs in the long term, so AFFA commissioned Animal Health Australia to progress the findings of these reports. Animal Health Australia has recently presented a business case for future options to government and industry representatives for their consideration.

(3) The main alternatives are contracting with commercial suppliers for rapid provision of vaccine doses; membership of other vaccine banks; revision of the existing IVB arrangements; or a combination of these options.