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Thursday, 9 December 1971
Page: 4545

Mr Grassby asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice:

(1)   Did the Australian Health Authorities' study of new quarantine methods developed in New Zealand, to which the Minister referred in his statement of 21st September 1971, encompass the need for Australia to up-date its quarantine methods in line with the New Zealand initiative.

(2)   When will Australia abandon its practice of using the United Kingdom to undertake our quarantine work and provide a similar establishment to New Zealand's off-shore quarantine station on Somes Island in Wellington Harbour.

(3)   ls it a fact that adherence to outmoded practices is denying Australia access to urgently required new genetic material to improve our crop and stock production.

Dr Forbes - The Minister for Health has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1)   No.

(2)   and (3) Consideration is being given to the establishment of an Australian high security animal quarantine station, one of the purposes of which would be to facilitate the importation of new strain!, of animal genetic material without risk of introducing exotic animal diseases.

In present circumstances, the current animal and plant quarantine restrictions arc essential to prevent the entry of exotic animal and plant diseases. However, they do not preclude the importation with safety of new animal and plant genetic material on a limited basis.

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