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AQIS review overdue

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John Anderson, MR Deputy Leader, National Party of Australia Shadow Minister for Primary Industry Media

Canberra: Phone (06) 277 4074

Gunnedah: Phone (067) 42 3155 Release

A Q I S r e v ie w o v e r d u e

The Shadow Minister for Primary Industry, John Anderson, said today reports the Federal Government was abouttoamiounce a $1 million independent scientific ' review of the Australian Quarantine"and Inspection Service (AQIS ) were welcome but long overdue.

Mr Anderson said the Minister for Prirhary Industries, Senator Collins, had first spoken of a limited review back in August.

‘‘The concept went onto the baekbumer until the recent papaya fruit ily outbreak in north Queensland.

“At the same time, an independent study of the North Australian Quarantine Strategy (NAQS) highlighted a number of important administrative inadequacies.

---- “The combination of these events sent the Minister scrambling back to the review option and now it appears there is a broader inquiry in the pipeline.

“The Coalition has been calling for a full and independent scientific review of AQIS, with special emphasis on quarantine, and particularly quarantine in northern Australia.

“Senator Collins’ delay in pursuing the review' has done nothing to enhance the reputation o f Australia’s quarantine capabilities with cither producers or our trading partners — indeed, the papaya outbreak has caused considerable damage.

“Senator Collins must win Cabinet endorsement for a comprehensive inquiry as the first step to restoring faith and confidence in our quarantine system,” Mr Anderson said.

December 13 1995.