|Meeting Minutes 7 PDF||8||161 KB|
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Wednesday 27 April 2011
10.00 am – 1.00 pm
255 Melrose Drive, Tullamarine Vic
|Lee Cale||AQIS – Chair|
|Jackie South||AQIS – Live Animal Imports|
|Helen Walker||AQIS – Live Animal Imports|
|Murli Baker-Gabb||AQIS – Live Animal Imports|
|Peter Moore||AQIS – Quarantine Operations|
|Geoff Chubb||BSG – Animal Biosecurity|
|Peter Finnin||AQIS – Victoria|
|Gaylene Podhjaski||AQIS – Victoria|
|Noriel Williams||AQIS – Victoria|
|Magda Hribar||AQIS – NSW|
|Phillip Widders||AQIS – NSW|
|Ian Sinclair||AQIS – NSW|
|Kevin Doyle||Australian Veterinary Association|
|Roger Lavelle||Australian Horse Industry Council|
|Patricia Ellis||Australian Horse Industry Council|
|Jake Howard||Australian Racing Board Limited|
|Grant Baldock||Equestrian Australia|
|Andrew Kelly||Harness Racing Australia|
|Peter McGauran||Thoroughbred Breeders Association|
|John Peatfield||Thoroughbred Breeders Association|
|Quentin Wallace||International Racehorse Transport|
|Chris Burke||International Racehorse Transport|
|Crispin Bennett||Crispin Bennett International Horse Transport Pty Ltd|
|Ross Kendell||Racing Victoria Limited|
|Leigh Jordan||Jordan International|
|Andrew Harding||Australian Racing Board Limited|
|Josh Murphy||New Zealand Bloodstock|
1. Welcome and Apologies
The Chair welcomed members to the seventh meeting of the HICC and noted apologies from Andrew Harding and Josh Murphy. The Chair introduced Jackie South as the new manager of the Live Animal Imports Program. It was also noted that the Live Animal Imports Program now encompasses the Horse Imports Program following a merger of the two programs.
2. Meeting 6 Minutes and Actions Arising
The Chair called for any further comments on the minutes from the sixth HICC meeting. Members accepted the minutes.
Dr Baker-Gabb outlined progress against the action items from the sixth HICC meeting, and outstanding items from previous HICC meetings.
- AQIS has received legal advice on contracting directly with overseas PEQ facilities. The legal advice indicates that it is possible to have contractual arrangements with overseas PEQ facilities and a draft inspection Deed has been prepared. It will still be an option to have a contract for inspection with an Australian entity. The inspection Deed will be circulated to industry for comment.
- Horse crush – to be discussed in more detail under other business.
- The model fee structure for surgical equipment at ECQS was discussed at the Finance sub-committee meeting. It was agreed that AQIS wouldn’t progress the purchase of surgical equipment without further advice from industry to indicate that this is a priority. . (This item now complete).
- The United Group Services (UGL) response to budgeting for property operating costs was circulated. (This item completed).
- Discussions have been held regarding the import of racehorses under permanent conditions only (except for piroplasmosis positive horses). Responses to date are in favour of moving to permanent conditions only. This will be phased in as new import conditions are rolled out. Chris Burke pointed out there were still some concerns with CEM testing, particularly for stallions that may require sedation for testing (This item now complete).
- Advice to be provided to members on whether the third CEM swab can be received after the horses have arrived in Australia. To be discussed more fully at item 9 (This item now complete)
- Members have been provided with contact details for the Japanese authorities (This item now complete).
Action Item 1: The AQIS draft inspection Deed to be circulated to industry for comment.
3. AQIS Horse Imports Program Finances
The Chair provided an overview of the Horse Import Program finances. More horses have been imported than expected which has meant that revenue is higher than that budgeted. Expenses were also down, which has led to a decrease in the accumulated deficit. The Chair noted that there is likely to be a significant increase in the lease costs for ECQS, backdated to 1 January 2011. At the Finance sub-committee meeting, there was discussion on the possibility of a two-phase introduction of the new fees, which would require two fee reviews. Members were advised that it would take six months to undertaken each fee review; therefore there was agreement that a single phase introduction was preferable. Frustration was expressed with the constraints of a six month process prescribed by the Department of Finance and Administration (DoFA) and its impacts on business, particularly as industry would like to introduce the fees incrementally in a manner that anticipates the likely increases to the rent (and hence the program deficit) and avoids being burdened with a larger increase in fees when back payments are calculated.
4. Update on Implementation of Biosecurity Reform Program
The Chair informed the members that this paper was prepared by the Strategic Projects Division within the Department. Major work from the Beale review includes:
- Moving to a more risk-based approach.
- Updating legislation.
- Updating IT systems.
It was noted that there are major reforms currently underway in the Department on both the import and export side of the business. Announcements in the federal budget will influence how this work will be progressed in the coming years.
The reform process includes moving to a more risk-based approach. This means allocating resources to the areas of higher risk. Identifying what is high risk and what is low risk is an integral part of this work. This doesn’t mean a change in acceptable risk levels, just a more efficient way of managing the risks.
The legislation reforms (to replace the Quarantine Act 1908) are well underway.
5. Update on Current Quarantine Station Lease Arrangements
Mr Peter Moore updated members on the status of Eastern Creek Quarantine Station (ECQS) and Spotswood quarantine station lease negotiations. The option to extend the ECQS lease until December 2015 has been exercised. This has triggered a market rent review. AQIS is working closely with DoFA who have experience with other sites with similar lease arrangements. The department expects to talk to the landlord within the next couple of weeks. If agreement on the rental charge is not able to be reached, the case is likely to go before an independent arbitrator. The arbitration process should be completed within two months of referral. The outcome of the lease negotiations should therefore be determined in around three months.
The current lease at Spotswood is on a holdover arrangement. Negotiations on a new formal lease are about to commence. It was noted that Spotswood does not have sufficient capacity to be a replacement for ECQS. There are also more issues with flights into Melbourne – it is easier to get flights into Sydney.
6. Future Post-Arrival Quarantine Arrangements
Mr Moore updated members on the FPEQA project. A business case has been put to government with a range of options for the delivery of future post entry arrangements costed for consideration. Approximately 28 sites have been reviewed to date for suitability. Many of these sites have already been ruled out as they didn’t meet the established criteria.
Budgeting for the future arrangements are not yet at a stage where a percentage of the prospective costs can be established for any one commodity. Only overall figures have been presented to government at this stage, but daily fees at any prospective new facility should be expected to be higher than the current fees.
After the federal budget on May 10, Mr Moore will write to all stakeholders that provided input into the business case, informing them of the outcome. Input from stakeholders has been very important in the development of the business case. Mr Moore expressed his thanks to everyone who has contributed to this process. AQIS will continue to work on future arrangements post budget.
7. Update on implementation of new import conditions
Dr Chubb provided an update on the implementation of the new import conditions. A letter was sent to all existing trading partners. This letter included a template health certificate for the other countries to agree to.
- UK and USA have largely accepted the new import conditions with a few minor details to iron out with both countries.
- Ireland has difficulties with various testing protocols. Ireland has been advised that the import risk analysis conditions will remain in place.
- Import conditions for the UAE and Japan are being negotiated through post. Japan has provided draft certification that didn’t meet the import conditions.
- Germany has not responded to Animal Biosecurity’s letter of 14 December 2010.
- Negotiations with Singapore and Macau are progressing slowly.
- Hong Kong has accepted the new conditions. A resumption of imports is now dependent on approval of the PEQ facility.
- France has not responded to Animal Biosecurity’s letter of 14 December 2010.
Mr Chris Burke noted that other countries are retaliating to our new import conditions by tightening their own import requirements.
New Zealand had a meeting with AQIS to discuss new import arrangements. AQIS will require further testing of horses from NZ if the horse has been imported from a third country. This particularly relates to piroplasmosis. New Zealand has released a new import protocol since the meeting without advising AQIS. This has introduced complications including a requirement for West Nile Virus vaccination for horses from Australia.
Mr Crispin Bennett suggested trying a different approach with Germany. He commented that it might be worth providing Germany with the certificate that the UK has agreed to. Mr Bennett will work with Dr Chubb on obtaining a response from Germany.
Some discussion was held on the current Australian horse virus situation. The viruses involved in the clinical syndromes currently occurring throughout the country are Kunjin, Murray Valley Encephalitis and Ross River virus. There has not been much effect on exports to date.
EVA testing requirements were raised. Currently mares and geldings need to be tested twice, but stallions only once. The testing is based on OIE requirements. Australia will be following up with the OIE to advocate for changes to the current EVA testing protocols.
Action Item 2: Mr Bennett will work with Dr Chubb¯Biosecurity Australia on obtaining a response from Germany, regarding the template health certificate provided for agreement, December 2010.
8. PEQ Facility Approvals – Process and Progress
Dr Walker gave an update on the progress of PEQ facility approvals. She advised that AQIS will no longer give any interim approvals. Full approvals that have been given previously remain valid. Approvals will be for two years, after which they will need to be reviewed. Unless there have been significant changes to the PEQ facility or its operations, the review process should be straightforward. The Chair indicated that AQIS would adopt a risk-return, performance-based approach to the facility approvals.
Dr Walker advised that she had inspected two facilities in the US in the last week and the outcome of the inspections might be known within another week. Quentin Wallace indicated that, considering the timing, he may submit an import permit application prior to the approval status of the facilities being clarified.
Dr Walker asked for assistance from importers and other relevant industry members to facilitate the approval of some PEQ facilities, including the facilities in Hong Kong and the UAE. She indicated that approval of the Hong Kong facility was largely dependent on the response that Hong Kong provides to the programs most recent correspondence, and that a meeting was scheduled with relevant representatives from the UAE to discuss approval of their PEQ facility.
Mr Quentin Wallace thanked relevant program staff for their handling of the PEQ approval process and made particular reference to the excellent work of Dr Emma Haslam.
9. EI Testing Timeframes and CEM Testing
Dr Baker-Gabb explained that a paper had been written to address the recurring problems with testing requirements. These problems originate from difficulty in following the import policy. It was noted that there has been a lot of discussion on these issues outside of the HICC meetings.
EI testing timeframes
epidemiological modelling was done on this. The modelling provided no evidence to move away from requirement to test within four days of the end of PEQ. The USA has difficulties with accepting this requirement. Australia believes that some of these difficulties have arisen because the USA is using a more specific test than that required (EI test instead of Influenza A test). AQIS will continue to consider mitigating circumstances relating to EI testing time frames (e.g. public holidays) on a case-by-case basis.
Mr Bennett commented that it is very difficult for shipments leaving on a Monday as there is absolutely no room for error. Public holidays exacerbate this. AQIS will consider issues such as public holidays on a case-by-case basis and are likely to allow testing to occur a day earlier.
CEM testing requirements and quarantine surveillance were discussed at great length. The requirement for prepubertal fillies and mares in seasonal anoestrus to be tested will remain. This may mean that prepubertal fillies may no longer be able to be imported except as a foal at foot. The current OIE requirements are heavily based on a breeder’s manual so best apply to animals that are entering a stud. This means the requirements do not adequately cover prepubertal or anoestrus animals.
Members discussed at length, the practical problems associated with imports of prepubertal fillies. As it is not possible to collect these samples, the UK will no longer be allowing prepubertal weaned fillies to travel. The option for a Certificate of Equivalence based on the retrospective CEM testing history of sire and dam of the filly at time of breeding was discussed.
It was noted, that this issue should be addressed in the review of the Import Risk Analysis due in March 2012.
Action Item 3: CEM testing of prepubertal fillies to be addressed in Animal Biosecurity’s review of the Import Risk Analysis due in March 2012.
10. Clearance Issues
Ms Jackie South provided information on the clearance of horses at airports. Ms South commented that there are differences in the number of AQIS staff required for different types of consignments.. The paper provided background on these issues at the airport.
Over the last couple of months AQIS has been investigating how to split the overtime costs. IT and administrative changes were taken into account. Overtime costs are able to be split between importers.
Ms South gave a reminder that a Notice of Intent needs to be provided at least three days prior to arrival of the shipment.
Animal Biosecurity released a transit/transhipment policy on 4 March 2011. AQIS is working on the related work instructions and will be providing industry with further information on the arrangements that will apply for comment.
Action Item 4: AQIS to provide industry with the new Transit/ Transhipment Policy draft instructions for comment.
11. Other Business
The Chair advised of two items:
Horse crush at ECQS
Dr. Widders discussed progress on obtaining the horse crush, particularly relating to the design of the crush, following photos distributed prior to the meeting. The quote obtained to date was for a crush that included adjustable bars, foam for protection, and a catch at the front of the crush. The indicative quote for two crushes was $8500 ($4400 for the crushes, $1100 for installation + $3000 for the foam padding). Members were advised to contact Dr Widders with any additional comments or suggested modifications. Dr Widders to send a proposal to HICC members for final comment.
Action Item 5:
- Members are advised to contact Dr Widders with any additional comments or suggested modifications to the proposed horse crushes.
- Dr Widders to send a proposal, including horse crush design and indicative quote to HICC members for final comment.
Use of ECQS cattle yards
Use of ECQS cattle yards as additional turn-out yards – Mr Ian Sinclair gave a presentation on the potential use of the ECQS cattle yards as additional horse turn-out yards. When there are a large number of horses in the quarantine station, there is limited time for horses to be turned out. In order to maintain a 100 metre buffer zone to the property boundary, only some sections of the cattle yards would be available for use as horse turn out yards. These yards would also require additional fencing. This would provide for an additional area of 80 x 20 m.
The proposed yards are currently fenced with a combination of wooden post and rail and heavy tubular galvanised steel. Removal of the current metal fencing would be expensive and would limit potential future use of the area for cattle. Approximately 285 m of 2.4 m high chain wire fence would be required to isolate the area. Three access gates are also required from the current horse area. The estimated cost of the fencing and gates is $20 000 based on current commercial supply and installation estimates. This estimated cost does not include division of the area into smaller turn-out yards.
Action Item 6: Members are invited to provide comment to Ian Sinclair or Murli Baker- Gabb on the proposal to chain wire fence and provide access gates to a section of the ECQS cattle yards.
Daily FeesMr Peter McGauran raised the issue of government action regarding the daily fees for use of the quarantine station. The Chair advised that the Department is looking broadly at funding arrangements for imports, and how these might be better approached (this includes cost-recovery arrangements).
Mr McGauran requested that members be provided with information on the number of horses imported, including a breakdown of the proportion of thoroughbreds to non-thoroughbreds.
Action Item 7: AQIS to provide members with information on the number of horses imported, including a breakdown of the proportion of thoroughbreds to non-thoroughbreds.
The date for the next meeting was discussed and it was noted that Chris Burke will be away from 13-16 October and Quentin Wallace will be away from September to November. The next meeting is planned for Melbourne in early October 2011.