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Nolan Slams Biosecurity Qld For Hendra Congress Snub

Thursday, 8th December 2011

Thoroughbred Breeders Queensland Association president Basil Nolan declared he "is disappointed both the TBQA & Thoroughbred Breeders Australia were deliberately overlooked for this week's Hendra Virus Science Congress in Brisbane". Nolan emphasised: " The TBQA has been at the forefront of the push for a Hendra Virus vaccine as far back as 2008 & has worked tirelessly to assist Biosecurity Queensland disseminate the correct information concerning the disease since the tragic death of Dr Alistair Rogers in 2009. We have on numerous occasions written to government bodies showing our support for the work Biosecurity Queensland & the Department Of Primary Industry have been doing in regards to Hendra, long before this latest cluster of outbreaks & we even organised & promoted our own Hendra Virus seminar in 2009. The TBQA fought hard alongside the Thoroughbred Breeders Australia & Biosecurity Queensland to see this $12 million joint Government funding finally come to fruition & we do not want to see it wasted. I believe we have some excellent ideas about where & how this funding could be best put to use & because breeders are in the frontline of this fatal disease with the daily management of horses, we should be actively involved in the allocation of research funds." Nolan added the TBQA believes "some funds need to be put towards horse management research, to ascertain what similar management practices have been used on the properties where the outbreaks have occurred" & noted: "We already know bats carry the virus & shed it, but there has been no adequate research into exactly how the horses contract it. That's where some of this funding needs to be spent. It would be a shame if the $12 million is allocated purely towards researching flying fox colonies & nothing on horse management practices." Nolan said the TBQA approached Biosecurity Queensland "respectfully requesting an invitation, only to be told there were representatives from the Horse Management Association & we could address our concerns to them. Well that's fine, except unlike the recreational sector, the thoroughbred industry has billions of dollars invested with tens of thousands of jobs at stake & we have legitimate economic interests to pursue." Nolan concluded: "It is extremely disappointing that Biosecurity Queensland did not invite a representative from either the TBQA or TBA, despite working so closely together to raise awareness of the disease and lobby for funding. They were keen to have us on board at that time, now they don't want to know about us. It is a slap in the face."

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