Basil: Govt must address bio-security

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday October 29th, 2013

 DEPUTY Opposition Leader Sam Basil, pictured, wants to Government to take action on bio-security threats that could potentially harm the agriculture and primary industry sector in the country.

He asked the Agriculture and Livestock Department and National Agriculture Quarantine Inspection Authority (NAQIA) to take appropriate steps in PNG to contain or mitigate threats from an outbreak of avian flu in Australia.

The New South Wales Primary Industries Department last Friday confirmed chickens on a second farm near Young had been infected with avian influenza. 

It prompted fear among egg farmers that the first outbreak last week had not been properly contained. 

“We must protect our agriculture and the poultry industry in PNG,” Basil said in a statement.

“There have been two confirmed cases of bird flu on commercial farms in Australia in the past 10 days,” he said.

He said bird flu could be transmitted in frozen chicken and eggs. 

He said over 44 countries to date had stopped importation of poultry products from Australia. 

“NAQIA have done nothing. Many of these countries have endemic bird flu,” Basil said.

“PNG has no bird flu and yet NAQIA is continuing to expose PNG farmers and wildlife to disease risks that countries worldwide consider unacceptable.”