Page 1377 - Week 04 - Thursday, 26 March 2009

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waiting to happen in other cases. They diminish the quality of people’s local environment and can act as a magnet for more serious antisocial behaviour. This bill will see abandoned vehicles, once reported to the department, dealt with more quickly than at present. I believe that this bill will complement other reforms in relation to littering and dumping that were recently passed by the Assembly, and I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth) adjourned to the next sitting.

Animal Diseases Amendment Bill 2009

Mr Stanhope, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Minister for Transport, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Minister for the Arts and Heritage) (10.07): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, this bill amends the Animal Diseases Act 2005 to clarify the operation of aspects of the act and to facilitate the control of future outbreaks of animal diseases in the territory. Members will recall the equine influenza outbreak in 2007. As part of an agreed interstate approach, the territory imposed quarantine restrictions under the Animal Diseases Act to control the outbreak at the time. As a result of those restrictions and the willing cooperation of the horse owners of the ACT, the disease did not spread to the territory from New South Wales. Ultimately, the disease was brought under control across the entire affected area of Australia. Subsequently, Australia was declared EI disease free.

Those quarantine measures were in place for just under a year. It was a distressing time for horse owners, and the local horse industry was placed under enormous pressure from the restriction. Members may also recall the $150,000 package that the ACT government provided to assist the local racing industry, equestrian clubs and Pegasus to help compensate for the costs of complying with precautionary measures against equine influenza.

Following the lifting of these quarantine measures, the Department of Territory and Municipal Services conducted an internal review of processes undertaken during the disease outbreak. That review concluded that, while the Animal Diseases Act contained a sufficient legislative basis for the actions taken to manage the outbreak, its operation would benefit from clarification in a number of areas to provide greater certainty and to simplify steps that may need to be taken to manage future animal disease outbreaks.

Animal diseases do not respect state borders. That is why the ACT is a signatory of the cross-jurisdictional emergency animal disease response agreement. So while the

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