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Thursday, 13 September 2007
Page: 67

Mr BRENDAN O’CONNOR (1:38 PM) —I concur with the comments made by the member for Hunter with respect to the Quarantine Amendment (Commission of Inquiry) Bill 2007 problems of the equine flu and the failure of the government to respond and attend to the matter properly. I am from Victoria. The great concern that we have is that at the moment we are attempting to prevent the virus entering the state, which could potentially devastate the spring carnival, a carnival that I am very much a patron of, as is the member for Lowe and other members. Indeed, the Victorian community are great patrons of the racing carnival in Melbourne in October and November. I know the state government is doing everything it can to prevent the state from being affected. I think it is important, as the member for Hunter indicated, that the government attend to some of the concerns—and to this point I do not think there has been an adequate response.

Yesterday I heard the minister responsible, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, seeking to provide an answer to questions raised by the member for Hotham. I do not believe those answers will satisfy the House, the racing industry or those parties adversely affected by this awful outbreak. It is important that the government attend to the concerns in the industry and stop attending to its own internal conflict and obsessions about its leadership. I therefore concur with the member for Hunter and other members on this side who have raised concerns about the failure by the government to properly respond to this problem in the racing industry.