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Tuesday, 25 September 1973
Page: 1412

Mr ERWIN (BALLAARAT, VICTORIA) - I wish to direct a question to the Minister for Science. Recently the Minister paid a visit to Geelong to investigate a site for the new $42m National Animal Health Laboratory. Will the Minister inform the House what the site requirements are for this Laboratory so that the Ballarat Development Committee can present to the Government a case for consideration? I would like the Minister to bear in mind that a Ballarat district site could well be superior to those sites already listed for consideration.

Mr MORRISON (ST GEORGE, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Science) - It is true that I visted Geelong last Friday. The honourable gentleman has asked what the main criteria are for a site for the Laboratory. The main criterion is that the site should be located away from livestock susceptible to disease. The purpose of the Animal Health Laboratory is to prevent the outbreak of exotic animal diseases. The site that has been recommended was chosen by an evaluation team. The site at Geelong meets all the requirements of the evaluation team. Another criterion in choosing the site is that it should be close to tertiary educational institutions particularly concerned with the field of microbiology and veterinary science. The site at Geelong was selected after consideration by the Town and Country Planning Authority of Victoria and also by the Cities Commission. I understand that the Victorian Government has favourably received the notion of a site at Geelong. There are several other matters to be resolved before I can make a recommendation to the Cabinet on the site and the further implementation of the recommendations for a national health laboratory which, I might add, was initiated by the previous Government and which this Government fully supports. I think one of the difficulties in relation to animal health in Australia has been that it has been more by good luck than good management that Australia has been spared the impact of quite serious diseases such as foot and mouth disease. The intention behind the animal health laboratory, is to ensure that Australia will be free from these diseases and, therefore, make a great contribution to the livestock industry of Australia.

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