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Truss should take good advice on pig imports.



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Gavan O'Connor MP MEMBER FOR CORIO SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE AND FISHERIES

13 May 2004.

TRUSS SHOULD TAKE GOOD ADVICE ON PIG IMPORTS

The Agriculture Minister, Warren Truss, should take some good advice from the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs Committee and direct the Secretary of his department to withdraw the determination that allows pig imports from a number of countries including the United States of America.

Biosecurity Australia should also take some good advice from this committee and invoke Article 5.7 of the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement in relation to the devastating disease Post Weaning Multisystemic Wasting Syndrome [PMWS].

Article 5.7 allows for imports to be banned where the science is insufficient. Such a ban can remain in place until the additional information necessary for a more objective assessment is available.

Evidence to the committee highlighted the lack of understanding of how PMWS is transmitted making the development of a protocol that ensures that disease does not enter the Australian pig herd virtually impossible.

The Howard Government’s decision to allow these imports into Australia, where the science relating this disease is inadequate, puts at risk a major rural industry and those communities it supports.

The Australian pork industry has undertaken significant restructuring in recent years, with minimal support from Government, and has built strong export markets into Japan and Singapore in particular.

Despite doing all that was asked of it by the Howard Government - and more - in relation to this import risk assessment the quarantine interests of the pork producers have been cast aside.

This report, from a committee with a majority of Government members, provides Mr Truss with one last chance to fix up this mess and he should take that opportunity.

Contact Gavan O’Connor on 0418 518 528 Bernie Eades on 0419 664 016