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Equine flu inquiry commences

September 28, 2007

The independent inquiry into the outbreak of equine influenza in Australia will hold its first hearing early in October.

Federal Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran said the Commission of Inquiry, headed by former High Court Justice Ian Callinan, had formally begun under new amendments to the Quarantine Act 1908.

"I have officially appointed Commissioner Callinan to report on the circumstances that contributed to the outbreak and the need for any strengthened biosecurity procedures for the quarantine management of imported horses.

"Commissioner Callinan has immediately employed his wide-ranging powers to call for relevant information and advertise an initial hearing.

"This preliminary hearing will be held in Sydney on October 3."

Mr McGauran said the Commissioner's terms of reference were broad, allowing him to investigate all circumstances contributing to the outbreak of equine influenza.

"We are determined to find out how this outbreak occurred and will make sure the Commissioner has access to all the information and resources he requires."

Mr McGauran encouraged anyone with information that might assist the Inquiry to contact the Commission's secretariat.



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