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Truss must announce wheat virus plan.



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KERRY O’BRIEN

LABOR SENATOR FOR TASMANIA SHADOW MINISTER FOR PRIMARY INDUSTRIES AND RESOURCES

44 Charles Street, P.O. Box 1193, Launceston TAS 7250 Phone (03) 6334 9366 Fax (03) 6334 9369 Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600 Phone (02) 6277 3842 Fax (02) 6277 3780 Email: senator.obrien@aph.gov.au

21 May 2003

TRUSS MUST ANNOUNCE WHEAT VIRUS PLAN

Federal Agriculture Minister Warren Truss must reveal the government’s plan to eradicate the wheat streak mosaic virus.

On 10 April 2003 Mr Truss told ABC radio:

We want to not just contain it but to also eradicate it.

Yet six weeks have passed without the Minister uttering another word about his eradication plan.

Labor fears the delay in an eradication announcement suggests the problem is much larger than the Minister has revealed.

Mr Truss has announced a necessary but belated quarantine protocol review, but he has not addressed the growing incidence of the virus.

Mr Truss must:

• Reveal the extent of the virus presence in plant research facilities and the general plant population; and

• Spell out his plan to arrest its spread and commence eradication.

Now is not the time for the Minister to hide behind his departmental officials.

Mr Truss must show some leadership and act - before it’s too late.

For Comment: Kerry O’Brien 03 6334 9366 or 0419 007 780 Jack Lake 02 6277 3843 or 0427 773 842