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Pork industry files industry challenge.



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Cnr Denison St & Geils Crt Deakin ACT 2600  PO Box 148 Deakin West ACT 2600 Telephone 02 6285 2200  Facsimile 02 6285 2288 www.australianpork.com.au Email: apl@australianpork.com.au MR122

M e d i a R e l e a s e

28 July 2004

Pork industry files legal challenge

Australia’s pork producers have commenced legal action in the Federal Court aimed at preventing any reduction in quarantine regulations which could allow the entry of a devastating new disease, Post Weaning Multi-Systemic Wasting Syndrome (PMWS).

Australian Pork Limited (APL), on behalf of Australian producers, announced today that it has served an application in the Federal Court in Sydney to set aside new quarantine conditions announced on 10 May 2004.

APL has asked the Court to review the Director of Quarantine’s decision to ensure each of the import protocols specified in the Import Risk Assessment (IRA) will limit the level of quarantine risk for the disease PMWS to an acceptably low level.

APL Chairman Dr Paul Higgins said APL had taken the legal action against the Director of Quarantine, Mr Mike Taylor because the new import conditions would result in a significantly increased risk of exposure to PMWS.

He said that CSIRO analysis commissioned by APL found that the new quarantine regime, which allows for increased volumes of pig meat from additional countries infected by PMWS, would give rise to a 95-99 per cent likelihood of an outbreak in Australia within ten years.

“The decision to take this action was not taken lightly or with any enthusiasm by the APL Board. We have exhausted every available process to prevent the Australian pork industry from being exposed to this devastating disease. Legal action is our last avenue to ensure all our concerns are properly heard.

“Australian law requires the Director of Quarantine to set quarantine conditions through a rigorous science-based process. APL will contend that this has not happened in this case.

“APL has been forced to make this challenge to protect the interests of pork producers and the industry as a whole because Biosecurity Australia’s import risk analysis process failed to meet Australia’s conservative quarantine requirements, as recognized by the World Trade Organisation, in reducing the risk of this disease to an acceptably low level.”

Dr Higgins said APL was not and had never advocated a protectionist outcome or a zero risk approach and reaffirmed its support for a free trading environment.

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Cnr Denison St & Geils Crt Deakin ACT 2600  PO Box 148 Deakin West ACT 2600 Telephone 02 6285 2200  Facsimile 02 6285 2288 www.australianpork.com.au Email: apl@australianpork.com.au MR122

M e d i a R e l e a s e

“APL is, however, seriously concerned that the new regime represents a significant departure from Australia’s conservative quarantine arrangements. These concerns were echoed in the report of the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs Committee’s Inquiry into the IRA, which found trade considerations were being inappropriately prioritised at the expense of scientific analysis.

“Biosecurity Australia’s increasing emphasis on a least trade restrictive approach has the potential to undermine the scientific basis of the IRA process and this should be of significant concern to all Australian food producing industries.

“In mounting this challenge, APL is seeking not only to protect the interests of producers and the rural communities dependent on the pork industry, but to safeguard the integrity of the IRA process by ensuring that science is not sacrificed in favour of trade considerations,” Dr Higgins said.

Lawyers for APL filed the application in the Federal Court Registry on 9 July. A Directions Hearing of the application has been set down for 10 August.

ENDS

Further Information: John Lamont, APL Media Manager - 0418 697 595