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National 'outbreak' website to protect exports.



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DAFF04/233WT - 13 August 2004

National 'outbreak' website to protect exports

A national website to keep Australians and trading partners better informed in the event of a future pest or disease emergency was launched by the Australian Agriculture Minister Warren Truss today.

"In the event of a pest or disease outbreak, such as we've seen recently in Australia with citrus canker in Queensland, stakeholders such as producers and exporters need to know what is happening," Mr Truss said.

"The establishment of this website demonstrates that the Coalition Government is prepared to take the lead in the event of a pest or disease incursion, by providing information that is vital to business and trade continuity and maintaining market access," Mr Truss said.

"It is also vital that our trading partners have access to accurate and timely information in order to protect our reputation and our export industries.

"Stakeholders need up-to-date information about what is happening, what action is being taken to address the situation and what they need to do in order to help safeguard Australian industries."

"Together, we have developed a single, user-friendly website to access local, State and national information on pest and disease emergencies," Mr Truss said.

The site will provide specific information for producers, travellers, non-English speakers and details for media. It features a subscription list for those who want to be kept in the know as information becomes available.

The website is the latest in a long list of achievements in improving Australia's communications preparedness that also includes:

● the creation of a National Communications Network;

● the establishment of a telephone hotline service;

● production of pre-approved TV, radio and newspaper advertising

material for immediate use in an animal health emergency; and ● the commencement of a biosecurity education and awareness

campaign.

The Howard/Anderson Government has allocated $21.6 million over four years for a programme to further boost Australia's readiness to respond to biosecurity threats, and animal and plant disease emergencies.

"Securing the Future will further strengthen Australia's animal and plant health status and ensure Australia remains prepared to respond to biosecurity threats to, and emergencies in, our agricultural, fisheries, forestry and food industries," Mr Truss said.

View the website online at: www.outbreak.gov.au

Further media inquiries:

Minister Truss' office: Tim Langmead - 02 6277 7520 or 0418 221 433