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Rudd strengthens biosecurity for exports

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Biosecurity will be fortified in Australia over the next two years, with the Rudd government committing nearly $3.5 million to strengthen Australia’s biosecurity systems. The funds will be divided between the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service to maintain tough import and quarantine procedures, which protect Australia from exotic pests and diseases. The broader Australian economy depends on a strict biosecurity system, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Tony Burke, said: "Our biosecurity system helps to underpin regional economies and jobs, and supports valuable export markets including in agriculture, seafood and timber." Burke pointed to the 2007 equine influenza outbreak as evidence of the need to maintain a strong biosecurity regime. "The outbreak cost industry an estimated $1 billion, which shows the devastating impact of exotic disease outbreaks." The sizeable investment will ensure that Australia remains a world leader in export certification systems, with particular impact expected on the red meat, dairy, grain, fish, horticulture and live export industry sectors. The maintenance and reforms will be delivered gradually over the next two years. Australia has some of the strictest quarantine laws in the world, which combined with its relative isolation help to protect Australia from pests and diseases that plague Europe and the Americas.

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