Australia's horse industry now under federal disease scheme

September 18, 2011

Australia's horse industry is now protected under the Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement (EADRA).

EADRA is a federal scheme whereby the government can charge the industry a levy should it ever have to recover the costs of fighting an exotic disease incursion.

The government had indicated it could no longer guarantee a response like that undertaken for the 2007 equine influenza outbreak unless the horse industry became a signatory to EADRA.

On Thursday, the Horse Disease Response Levy Bills completed their passage through the Senate.

The industry's move into the scheme was controversial, with much debate around what would be the most equitable way for horse owners to be levied, should the government ever have to recover money.

The levy, if needed, would be charged on manufactured feeds and wormers.

Australia Horse Industry Council president Roger Lavelle said it had been a long and tortuous journey for some involved in the process.

He said the council, along with the Australian Racing Board, Harness Racing Australia and Equestrian Australia, were delighted that this task has been completed.

"To all those organisations and individuals who helped ensure that Industry put a united front to Government that they could not ignore, it has been a job well done.

"It highlights the strength of the horse industry when it chooses to work co-operatively and for the benefit of the industry.

"We all need to be thankful to the Stockfeed Manufacturers and the Wormer Manufacturers for the part they played and to support both organizations by feeding our horses appropriately and being aware of proper worming programmes.

"Now that the horse industry has signed EADRA and has a legislated levy mechanism, which is zero-rated, it is on to the next step of improving both the knowledge and implementation of better biosecurity practices.

"Well done, everyone."