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Quarantine to be taught in schools



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20.

MINISTER FOR RESOURCES

Primary school students in all states are to be taught about the significance to Australia o f quarantine under a new program being developed by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS). This follows agreement between the Commonwealth and all State and Territory Departments of Education.

The Minister for Resources, Mr Alan Griffiths, said today that quarantine is o f crucial importance to all Australians.

"The potential cost to Australia of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease, for example, has been estimated as a reduction of 0.4 per cent o f gross domestic product and o f 0.6 per cent in aggregate employment in the first year. In monetary terms, this approximates $1.2 billion and in employment terms, 43,000 jobs."

Mr Griffiths said that in terms o f plant, animal and human pests and diseases, Australia is one of the 'cleanest' countries in the world.

"It is the responsibility o f every Australian to ensure that we protect our environment," he said.

"This means we have a duty not only to observe quarantine regulations, but also to ensure that the next generation understands why quarantine is important." ,

Mr Griffiths said the quarantine material will be taught to children aged from 11 to 13 in the upper primary years commencing in 1992. .

"The material has been developed by AQIS with the help of a consultant, Ms Lyn Holihan, who is well known in education circles around Australia. The concept has been very well received by the Curriculum Corporation and the various State and Territory education authorities."

Mr Griffiths said the material will be trialled in four primary schools in each State and Territory over the next six weeks, and will be formally adopted into all primary schools next year.

"Most o f this material has never before been available in Australian schools. It includes an information and activities program, including video material, which utilises tried and accepted educational practices, and covers the economic, social and environmental impact of quarantine and exotic pest or disease outbreaks.

: . | COMMONWEALTH I

Further information Don Gumming (06) 272 5500 ( w ) 231 0876 ( h ) PARLIAMENTARY LIBRA RY j

Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: (06)2777480 Fax: (06)2734154