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Territory joins national quarantine border protection network.

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AFFA03/343WTJ - 19 November 2003

Australian Government Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss Northern Territory Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries, Dr Chris Burns

Territory joins national quarantine border protection network

Australian and Northern Territory agriculture ministers today welcomed the transfer of quarantine functions to the Australian Government after more than two decades of service delivery by the NT Government.

"On behalf of the Australian Government, I would like to thank NT Minister for Primary Industry and Fisheries Dr Chris Burns, and the men and women who have provided such an excellent service over the years," Australian Government Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Warren Truss said.

"The Australian Government is bringing together quarantine functions around the country to provide nationally co-ordinated and resourced border protection.

"The Territory has particular strategic importance in that function. Australia's north has a high quarantine risk profile, both because of trade patterns in the region, and because of the pest and disease status of Australia's near neighbours.

"Strong and effective quarantine systems have protected the livelihoods of Territorians for decades, and I wish to pay tribute to the work that has been done to maintain that protection. Your efforts also protect farmers and communities throughout the rest of Australia," Minister Truss said.

AQIS is expected to take over responsibility for Northern Territory operations by the end of the year.

Dr Burns said that the Territory had played an important front line role in Australia's quarantine arrangements for many years.

"I would like to extend my congratulations and thanks, on behalf of all Territorians, for the professional and high quality work done by the men and women who have carried out this role in the past.

"Their hard work and dedication has helped Australia, and in particular northern Australia, remain free of many dangerous and damaging pests and diseases that have affected other parts of the world.

"I know that this hard work will continue under the auspices of the Commonwealth, and the Territory stands ready to cooperate on these matters wherever possible," Dr Burns said.

Further media inquiries:

Minister Truss' office: Paul Holden 0419 498 837 Dr Burns' office: Patrick Bindon (08) 8901 4164