9 July 2012
Joint Media Release
Rob Mitchell MP, Federal Member for McEwen
Senator the Hon Joe Ludwig, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Federal Member for McEwen, Rob Mitchell, today announced Mickleham as the chosen location for Australia’s new post entry quarantine (PEQ) facility, an investment worth more than $400 million in Victoria.
The Gillard Government has acquired 144 hectares of land at 135 Donnybrook Road, Mickleham to build the state-of-the-art facility, Mr Mitchell, who inspected the site today, said.
“This is a very significant investment in our local community and will mean hundreds of construction jobs and around 100 on-going jobs when fully operational,” Mr Mitchell said.
“I know how important major projects like these are to the local economy and I look forward to seeing the facility take shape from next year.”
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, said the PEQ facility will be equipped with the newest and most advanced technology available.
“The importation of new genetic material is necessary to increase competitiveness and productivity in our agriculture sector," Minister Ludwig said.
“This new facility will enable the government to continue to safely monitor the importation of animals and plant material that may pose a biosecurity risk.
"Warren Truss stripped millions of dollars from Australia’s biosecurity system when the Howard Government sold off Australia’s PEQ facilities only to lease them back with no regard for changing land use in peri-urban areas; no maintenance plan; and no plan for the future.
"This investment in critical infrastructure demonstrates the Gillard Government’s commitment to the productivity of Australia’s agriculture sector and maintaining our world-class biosecurity standing."
The PEQ facility, which will commence operation in 2015, provides an investment in Australia’s biosecurity system to strengthen Australia’s defences against pests and diseases for years to come.
The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry will operate the Mickleham facility, which will replace current Australian Government PEQ’s with a sustainable, reliable facility that adopts modern technology and operating practices.
This builds on the government’s announcement in the 2011-12 Budget, where funding was provided for the identification and purchase of a site for the PEQ.
144 hectares at 135 Donnybrook Rd Mickleham for a post entry quarantine facility to be operated by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF).
The acquisition of this site was completed in mid June after an extensive search and period of due diligence during which more than 25 possible locations were considered.
The construction of a purpose built post entry quarantine facility will allow certain imported animals and plants to be held for a specified period in a quarantined environment before release into Australia.
The management of certain quarantine risks requires all live animals and most live plants or plant material intended for propagation, imported into Australia to spend some time in secure post entry facilities to enable appropriate quarantine checks to occur before they can safely be released to importers.
This facility will cater for the quarantine clearance of live plants and animals including dogs, cats, horses, ruminants (such as alpacas), live birds, bees and fertile eggs for the domestic poultry industry.
Operations will be well contained and secured and the design of the facility will minimise the visual and audible impact of operations on surrounding land users.
The site was chosen for its location, current zoning and the intended future use of the neighbouring properties. The owners of adjoining land holdings have been consulted and will continue to be engaged throughout the development of this facility.
Australia is free of many diseases and pests that exist in other countries, and DAFF operates post entry quarantine facilities to help maintain the integrity of Australia’s biosecurity.
Imported animals and plants are not released into Australia until they have fulfilled quarantine requirements which often includes a period of quarantine at PEQ stations to ensure animals and plants are free from pests and diseases.
With the purchase of the site completed, the 2012-13 Budget confirmed funding for the facility in line with the transfer of existing PEQ operations across the country allowing consolidation of these functions to a single site in the longer term.
The first operations on the site will commence from 2015, with all of our PEQ functions managed from a single integrated site by 2018.
Local investment and jobs
The overall Commonwealth investment in this measure is well in excess of $400 million including almost $380 million in the 2012-13 Budget.
It is expected that in excess of a hundred positions will be created at the site when fully operational and several hundred will be created during the construction phase which will commence from 2013 and see completion of the final elements of the facility by 2018.