Equine flu lecture by former agriculture minister

September 22, 2008


Peter McGauran

The man who was federal agriculture minister at the time of Australia's equine influenza outbreak is to deliver a public lecture on the subject in Melbourne next month.

Peter McGauran will speak for the first time on the view from the inside of the worst exotic disease outbreak in Australia's history.

The equine influenza in August 2007 saw the overnight unravelling of the racing industry and led to news bulletins around the country.

For weeks on end it captivated the public's interest as the economic losses totalled hundreds of millions of dollars. All the while the largest disease response ever undertaken was in full swing.

For a Federal Minister of Agriculture it was the perfect storm of economic, social and scientific forces combining in the most politically volatile mix imaginable.

The ban on horse movements crippled the competition horse sector and deprived many pleasure horse clubs and events of essential revenue. Service providers ranging from farriers and vets to float drivers and saddlers were hit hard and turned to the Government for financial assistance. Then the Melbourne Cup was threatened.

Today, McGauran is the CEO of Thoroughbred Breeders Australia and Aushorse Ltd. His principal role is to secure greater sales of Australian horses, both within Australia and overseas, which will benefit breeders and the racing industry as a whole. He also represents breeders on issues such as taxation, biosecurity and quarantine, which requires careful lobbying of State and Federal Governments.