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AUSTRALIA'S QUARANTINE SYSTEM BOLSTERED

18 October 2006

National Farmers' Federation (NFF) President David Crombie says improvements to Australia’s Import Risk Analysis (IRA) process, announced by the Federal Government today, will substantially boost Australian farmers confidence in our quarantine system.

“NFF consulted extensively with members and key stakeholders over the past 12 months on ways to improve Australia’s quarantine and biosecurity system,” Mr Crombie said. “As a result, NFF made a number of recommendations to the Government – which we are pleased to see reflected in the changes announced today.

“NFF is particularly pleased to see the expanded role of the independent Eminent Scientist’s Group which will enhance contestability of the science and peer review of all aspects of the IRA process.

“New regulated timeframes will give all stakeholders, and those involved in an IRA, a much greater degree of certainty. Importantly, as a part of these new timeframes, consultation mechanisms with industry stakeholders have been bolstered.

“NFF also supports the retention of the right of a final appeal of any IRA as a key part of the new process.

“NFF has always maintained that quarantine is of vital importance to the future of Australian farming – it is an issue we simply cannot afford to get wrong.

“Australian farmers must have a robust science-based and transparent quarantine system that to the best extent possible protects the nation from human, animal and plant diseases.

“We need a system that farmers can have confidence in – today’s changes go a long way to delivering this.

“NFF is strongly encouraging all industries to be more engaged in all relevant consultative processes, to ensure their interests are represented and, equally, to ensure that they have a sound understanding of how key issues are addressed.”

Media Enquiries: Brett Heffernan, NFF Public Affairs, (02) 6273 3855 or 0408 448 250 email:

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