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Improving Australia’s quarantine.

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BACK Home | Media Releases DAFF06/153PM - 18 October 2006

Improving Australia’s quarantine

Australia’s quarantine risk assessment processes will be strengthened by increasing the level of scientific scrutiny and improving consultation with stakeholders.

In announcing the reforms, Australian Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Peter McGauran, said that they would increase confidence in the system, but not compromise Australia’s conservative, science-based approach to quarantine.

“The new import risk analysis process, scheduled to take effect early next year, will include greater scientific scrutiny, improved transparency and regulated timeframes. It will allow stakeholders to have regular input from the very start, right through to the end,” Mr McGauran said.

“The new process will provide the opportunity for greater public and scientific scrutiny of import requests.”

The role of the Eminent Scientists Group, introduced in 2004 so that stakeholder comments were properly addressed, will be strengthened to include the assessment of conflicting scientific views, consideration of new science and review of the conclusions of draft IRA reports.

Regulated timeframes will provide greater certainty and clarity. Priority setting for import requests will be guided by a high-level Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry advisory group.

The right of appeal remains a key feature.

“Our quarantine status is a major asset for Australia and one we must protect and safeguard,” Mr McGauran said.

“Farmers and other stakeholders raised concerns about the import risk analysis process, including the strength of the scientific approach, lack of transparency, inadequate consultation and timeliness.

“I look forward to working with a much improved process that is more efficient in delivering high quality quarantine for Australia.”

Four major import risk analyses on apples, bananas, chicken meat and prawns, that are either well under-way or nearly complete, will be finalised under the existing process.

Further information:

Further media inquiries:

Minister McGaurans' office: Ben Houston 02 6277 7520