Horses saddle up for quarantine
18 August 2015
Horses will be the first four legged ‘guinea pigs’ to move into Australia’s new $379m state of the art Post Entry Quarantine (PEQ) facility in Mickleham, Victoria.
Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said from this week domestic horses—rather than their overseas counterparts—will be used to test the new 144 hectare facility.
“But it won’t be a tough job. The facility delivers a purpose built solution that is light-years ahead of the existing ageing facilities located in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide that are being progressively decommissioned,” Minister Joyce said.
“It consolidates Australia's entire existing government-operated animal and plant PEQ services into a single site.
“The modern facility is an important component in protecting and maintaining Australia’s reputable biosecurity system and providing opportunities for our farmers.
“It not only protects our farmers at the farmgate but also our multibillion dollar export industry and potentially helps open up new overseas markets.
“It will significantly enhance our capacity to manage the risks from ever increasing amounts of new plant and animal material coming into Australia.”
The horses will move into the South Horse Compound, where they will test the animal biosecurity and welfare standards of the facility. Bees were moved into the purpose built bee compound for a similar testing period earlier this year.
Minister Joyce said biosecurity is a critical part of the government’s efforts to prevent, respond to and recover from pests and diseases that threaten the economy and environment.
“Making sure Australia remains free of many of the exotic pests and diseases prevalent in other countries is an enormous job but it's one that can save farmers up to $17,500 per farm per year,” Minister Joyce said.
“When it opens later this year, the facility will provide quarantine services for plants, cats, dogs, horses and bees.”
The Department of Agriculture is making preparations to close down the Eastern Creek quarantine station at the end of the year.