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Equine influenza inquiry commences.

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27 September 2007

Equine Influenza Inquiry commences

The independent Inquiry into the outbreak of equine influenza (EI) in Australia is officially under way, with the first hearing scheduled for early October.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Peter McGauran, said the Commission of Inquiry, headed by former High Court Justice, the Honourable Ian Callinan AC, had formally begun under new amendments to the Quarantine Act 1908.

“As well as providing financial assistance to those directly affected by the outbreak of EI, the Australian Government will leave no stone unturned to establish the cause,” Mr McGauran said.

“I have officially appointed Commissioner Callinan to report on the circumstances that contributed to the outbreak and the need for any strengthened biosecurity procedures for the quarantine management of imported horses.

“Commissioner Callinan has immediately employed his wide-ranging powers to call for relevant information and advertise an initial hearing.

“This preliminary hearing will be held in Sydney on 3 October.”

Mr McGauran said the Commissioner’s terms of reference were broad, allowing him to investigate all circumstances contributing to the outbreak of equine influenza.

“We are determined to find out how this outbreak occurred and will make sure the Commissioner has access to all the information and resources he requires.”

Mr McGauran encouraged anyone with information that might assist the Inquiry to contact the Commission’s secretariat.

Contact details, and other information including the terms of reference for the Inquiry, are available on the Commission’s website:

Further media inquiries:

Minister McGauran's office: Ben Houston 02 6277 7520