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More quarantine jobs for Victoria.



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HON WARREN TRUSS MP MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY

AFFA01/136WT 29 May 2001

More quarantine jobs for Victoria

The Federal Coalition Government will boost quarantine protection for Victoria employing by 150 additional staff as part of its $600 million package to strengthen Australia's border agencies, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss, announced today.

"This is the biggest boost to Australia’s quarantine service in history," Mr Truss said.

"Keeping out exotic pests and diseases is essential to safeguarding Australia and its primary industries.

"The additional staff and resources will maintain and intensify the controls the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service established earlier this year in response to the outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in Europe.

"The Government has set demanding new targets which will require AQIS to inspect all arriving cargo and mail. Arriving air passengers will be screened and, in most, their luggage will be inspected or X-rayed by AQIS officers.

"In Victoria, staff for inspection at air and sea ports and for container, air cargo and personal effects consignments, international mail and air cargo inspections will increase from 199 full-time equivalent staff to 350 — an increase of more than 75 per cent.

"Eleven additional detector dog team will be recruited, bringing the total to 17. And the State will have eight extra X-ray machines — up from one — to cover the risks associated with passengers arriving at Melbourne international airport as well as air cargo and international mail."

The Government's Budget quarantine package means:

at airports, all passengers will be screened and the vast majority will have their baggage inspected or x-rayed; ●

for air cargo, there will be external inspection of all aircraft containers and inspection of all material of quarantine concern; ●

at seaports, 100 per cent of ships will be inspected, with increased surveillance, including for quarantine waste management; ●

for sea cargo containers, there will be 100 per cent external inspection of all containers and continued inspection of all material of quarantine concern; ●

at international mail exchanges, there will be 100 per cent X-ray or detector dog surveillance of all posted articles; and ●

quarantine public awareness activities will be enhanced to educate travellers, importers, international students and people from non-English speaking backgrounds. ●

"Australia's freedom from many of the world’s worst agricultural pests and diseases is vital to almost $24 billion in

exports," Mr Truss said. "For example, an outbreak of FMD in Australia would threaten export markets for wool, meat, dairy and live animals worth almost $15 billion a year — and we simply can't allow that to happen."

 

Minister's office: Yvonne Best (02) 6277 7520 or 0418 415 772

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Last updated 29 May 2001

URL: http://www.affa.gov.au/ministers/truss/releases/00/0136wt.html Commonwealth of Australia 2000