Page 1565 - Week 05 - Thursday, 7 April 2005

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Why have we just got a blanket ban on live vaccines? There may be times when it is entirely inappropriate to use live vaccines and we should not actually have that in legislation, because that is a matter that requires some flexibility and that is why it is in the vet plans and that is why we have highly-qualified veterinary medical organisations to say yea or nay—not us in this place here and not a bureaucrat in the Chief Minister’s Department. This is why I must oppose this clause.

If we had actually had time and the full courtesy of the Chief Minister’s office, we might not be in this situation. The Chief Minister can say, “Look, we’ve had plenty of time; this bill was introduced a number of weeks ago.” It was introduced on 17 March. You do the maths, Mr Speaker: that is 11 working days from 17 March until today and there are national organisations associated with the important economic and social benefits of running a pastoral industry which were not consulted by this government, which have been asking for consultation by this government, which only found out about the existence of this legislation through the Liberal opposition—not through the government—and they are asking for time. If the government will not give them time, we must oppose what appears to be a problem in this legislation.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Arts, Heritage and Indigenous Affairs) (5.28): The government does not support the proposal. It needs to be remembered in relation to this particular provision that the provision applies to declared endemic and exotic diseases. The clause states:

(1) A person commits an offence if the person uses on an animal, or material derived from an animal—

(a) a virus, vaccine or other biological product containing living organisms for treatment or prevention of an exotic or endemic disease; or

(b) a biological product containing something derived from a living organism for diagnosis of an exotic or endemic disease.

(2) This section does not apply if the person acts with the written approval of the director.

It is a very important provision designed to ensure that there is control over the use of live vaccines so that there will not be through their use any risk of more virulent forms of the disease developing within a host animal. It does, through the approval process required, enable a record of vaccinated animals to be maintained, most importantly so that false diagnoses are not made in relation to an animal that might present, and to ensure that which goes to the very heart of this legislation and our response to animal diseases—that there be a capacity for a national response where the use of live vaccines is an issue, and so that the national response and strategies can be complied with.

As I say, this is a provision that applies only to endemic and exotic diseases; it does not apply generally. It is a significant provision and the department has consulted with those organisations in Australia that are most directly affected, particularly the Cattle Council, and they have no issues with these provisions or with this legislation.

Clause 33 agreed to.

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