EMAI gets major biosecurity boost

Investing further in the State’s capacity to respond to exotic disease incursions, the recent NSW budget allocated more than $43 million to upgrade biosecurity facilities at the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute (EMAI), Camden.

A new plant biosecurity precinct will be constructed, and viral disease diagnostic capabilities expanded with a new high security wing.

The funding is part of the 2008/09 budget for primary industries, to be spent over the next five years.

"For plant and animal industries this project means improved diagnosis and testing, which will be pivotal in any future disease outbreak," Primary Industries Minister, Ian Macdonald, said.

"Should exotic diseases like foot and mouth disease or bird flu make their way into Australia, EMAI would be on the frontline, performing thousands of diagnostic tests as part of the NSW Government response.

"The upgrade will begin later this year and will ensure the NSW Department of Primary Industries’ premier laboratory facility maintains its world class exotic disease testing and response capabilities."

EMAI was at the forefront of the recent successful battle to clear the state of equine influenza.

During the horse flu outbreak, EMAI scientists diagnosed the disease, then conducted thousands of tests per day to monitor the progress of the disease and develop control strategies.