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New biosecurity lab to tackle animal diseases proposed for Cairns

CAIRNS has been proposed as the site of a new high level biosecurity laboratory to help prevent the spread of exotic diseases such as hendra virus.

The Palaszczuk Government has supported, in principle, a recommendation from the recent inquiry into hendra virus vaccine in Queensland to investigate the feasibility of new hendra virus testing facilities in Cairns or Townsville.

The lab, which would have Physical Containment 3 (PC3) capability, would process samples of suspected cases of the virus more quickly than sending samples to Brisbane.

There are no state-run PC3 labs in northern Queensland, with Biosecurity Queensland’s veterinary diagnostic lab in Townsville shut down by the Newman Government.

Dalrymple MP Shane Knuth, who rallied against the Townsville lab’s closure, said the recommendation was evidence that it was a bad move to shut down the nearly 100-year-old facility.

“We need to get a biosecurity lab back up here, not just for hendra virus but other exotic diseases such as foot and mouth diseases,” he said.

Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Bill Byrne said the recommendation to investigate the feasibility of a Hendra virus exclusion test capability in Townsville or Cairns was supported in principle but was not financially feasible at present.

“Logistical arrangements are ensuring that North Queensland samples are being processed in the Brisbane facility within acceptable time frames,” he said.

“However the Department will continue to explore improved sample transport options to improve time frames for exclusion testing.”



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BatsRule!: New biosecurity lab to tackle animal diseases proposed for Cairns
New biosecurity lab to tackle animal diseases proposed for Cairns
New biosecurity lab to tackle animal diseases proposed for Cairns
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