Biosecurity Australia Advice 2010/07

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24 March 2010

Quarantine Policy Determination for Horses from Approved Countries

This Biosecurity Australia Advice (BAA) informs stakeholders that Australia’s Director of Animal and Plant Quarantine has determined a quarantine policy for the importation of horses from approved countries. Importation of horses may be permitted subject to the Quarantine Act 1908, and the application of sanitary measures as specified in the Final Report of the Import Risk Analysis for Horses from Approved Countries, March 2010. The policy will now be taken into account by decision makers when considering import permit applications for horses from approved countries in accordance with the Quarantine Act 1908 and Quarantine Proclamation 1998 as amended.

Biosecurity Australia has completed an import risk analysis (IRA) on the importation of horses from approved countries. The IRA was completed in accordance with the Import Risk Analysis Handbook 2007 using a non-regulated pathway. A draft IRA report was issued on 30 November 2009 for a 60 day consultation period that closed on 1 February 2010 (BAA 2009/28). The 12 stakeholder submissions received have been considered in preparing the final IRA report. As indicated in BAA 2009/28, under the non-regulated process being followed there is no appeal opportunity on the final IRA report.

In light of stakeholder comments and further review by Biosecurity Australia and the expert panel, changes have been made to the final report: editorial corrections and clarification have been incorporated, and additional supporting technical information included. The main changes are

  • the duration of post-arrival quarantine (PAQ) for commingled consignments of 21 days has been amended to include a regional approach, i.e. a 14-day PAQ period for commingled consignments originating from the same region
  • the timing of diagnostic testing for a number of diseases in pre-export quarantine (PEQ) has been aligned where possible to better manage testing and to minimise veterinary attendance
  • certification for contagious equine metritis has been amended to allow samples to be taken during the 30 days immediately before export
  • for Borna disease and West Nile fever, the risk assessments have been reviewed. In the case of Borna disease, the requirement for premises freedom has replaced country freedom, while for West Nile fever, the vaccination requirement for horses from countries where clinical disease is known to occur remains unchanged, while certification of country freedom from clinical West Nile fever is no longer recommended.

With completion of the IRA, Biosecurity Australia recommended that Australia’s Director of Animal and Plant Quarantine make a policy determination that horses from approved countries could continue to be permitted entry into Australia under specific quarantine conditions. These conditions are similar to the current interim measures introduced in 2007 and 2008.

The Director of Animal and Plant Quarantine has now determined the quarantine policy to permit the continued entry of horses from approved countries to Australia. Importation of horses may be permitted, subject to the Quarantine Act 1908, and the application of sanitary measures as specified in the Import Risk Analysis Report for Horses from Approved Countries, March 2010. These measures are designed to limit quarantine risk to a level that is acceptably low, in order to achieve Australia’s appropriate level of protection. The policy will be taken into account by decision makers when considering import permit applications for horses from approved in accordance with the Quarantine Act 1908 and Quarantine Proclamation 1998 as amended.

The final IRA report is available on the Biosecurity Australia website, www.biosecurityaustralia.gov.au. Stakeholder comments and Biosecurity Australia’s responses are also on the website.

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Dr Colin J Grant
Chief Executive

Contact officer: Dr Jill Millan
Telephone:   02 6272 3933
Facsimile:    02 6272 3399
E-mail:    Jill.Millan@daff.gov.au