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Thursday, 7 May 1970

Mr Maisey asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:

What precautions are taken by his Department in countries of origin to ensure that people likely to be in contact wilh foot and mouth disease do not transmit it (o Australia.

Mr Lynch - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

In countries where foot and mouth disease is known to be prevalent or endemic and from which regular shipping services operate it is usual for migrants who are defined as 'rural' types to be given visas which restricts them to travel by sea. The definition of a 'rural' migrant for quarantine purposes is one who within the last three months has:

(a)   resided on a farm;

(b)   lived or worked in a place on which cows, goats, cattle, sheep or pigs are kept; or

(c)   worked or lived at a place where meat, milk, hides or any other animal products are processed or stocked.

The reason for favouring sea travel for 'rural' migrants is because the longer travelling time reduces the amount of any chance virus contamination that may be present. The persistence of virus decreases with the lapse of time.

In similar countries from which it is not possible for migrants to travel by sea, air movement is permitted but under conditions where a thorough pre-flight examination of migrants clothing and baggage is conducted, with disinfection of footwear as necessary, under the supervision of an Australian medical officer.

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