[ASC-media] MEDIA RELEASE: Research attracts biosecurity dollars to WA

Corinna Lange c.lange1 at uq.edu.au
Tue Aug 24 14:38:36 EST 2004

Embargoed to Wednesday 25 August 2004

Research attracts biosecurity dollars to WA

Implantable chips and hand-held devices to detect disease, and satellite 
information systems for predicting disease outbreaks are amongst the 
technologies that will be developed by the Australian Biosecurity Cooperative 
Research Centre (AB-CRC).

The Hon Kim Chance MLA, Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, today 
launched the Centre’s major research node in Perth.  Curtin University of 
Technology, the Department of Agriculture-WA, Murdoch University and PathCentre 
are the WA-based partners in the Centre, which brings together five 
universities, eight federal and state government agencies, and six industry 
groups nationally, and three international organisations.  The Centre also 
receives financial support from the Western Australian Government through the 
Department of Industry & Technology.

It is anticipated that over the next seven years the Centre will attract more 
than $8 million in external funding into Western Australia for new 
collaborative and multidisciplinary research and education programs.  This 
funding will provide a major boost to the State’s capacity to protect against 
the entry, establishment and spread of emerging infectious disease threats such 
as foot-and-mouth disease, SARS and avian flu.

The partners will combine their resources and expertise, integrating the latest 
diagnostic, computer and satellite technologies to develop specialised early 
warning systems for the rapid detection and response to disease outbreaks.  
These technologies will be developed and implemented alongside new education 
and training initiatives.

CEO of the Australian Bioscecurity CRC, Dr Stephen Prowse said that in the 
future farmers at remote locations in Australia would be able to use hand-held 
devices to monitor and report disease.  The device would also relay the 
diagnostic information to a government veterinarian, who can then take 
immediate action to contain a disease outbreak.

“Western Australia’s partnership in this Centre is integral to our goal to 
counter the threat of emerging infectious diseases to Australia by 
strengthening the national response capability”, Dr Prowse said.

The spread of new infectious diseases into Australia, through the movement of 
people and animals, viruses jumping from animals to humans, or even 
bioterrorism, is an increasing risk, according to Dr Prowse.

“The global SARS epidemic is a perfect example of the far-reaching impacts of 
newly emerging diseases.

“Experts within the AB-CRC, including Professor Aileen Plant and Professor John 
Mackenzie, both based with Curtin, have been involved in the global response to 
the SARS outbreak, under the auspices of the World Health Organization,” he 

Partners in the Australian Biosecurity CRC are Animal Health Australia, 
Australian Animal Health Laboratory (CSIRO Livestock Industries), Australian 
Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Australian Pork 
Limited, AusVet Animal Health Services, Curtin University of Technology, James 
Cook University, Murdoch University, University of Queensland, University of 
Sydney, Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Queensland 
Health Department, Western Australian Centre for Pathology and Medical Research 
(PathCentre), and the Western Australian Department of Agriculture.

Associate and international partners are AGEN Biomedical Ltd, Commonwealth 
Department of Health and Ageing, Meat & Livestock Australia, Northern Territory 
Department of Business, Industry and Resource Development, PANBIO Ltd, 
Consortium for Conservation Medicine (USA), National Center for Foreign Animal 
Diseases (Canada), and OIE South-East Asian Foot-and-Mouth Disease Campaign, 
Regional Coordinating Unit (Thailand).

The Australian Biosecurity CRC is one of 30 new CRCs announced in 2002 by the 
Federal Government.  The total resources of the Centre will be more than 
$60million over 7 years.  The Centre has major research nodes in Brisbane, 
Geelong, Sydney and Perth, and partners in Bangkok, New York and Winnipeg.

For interview:

Dr Stephen Prowse
CEO, Australian Biosecurity CRC
Mobile:	0419 371 134
Email:	stephen.prowse at abcrc.org.au

For assistance with arranging interviews:

Corinna Lange
Communications Officer, Australian Biosecurity CRC
Mobile:	0423 752 198
Email:	corinna.lange at abcrc.org.au

Communications Officer
Australian Biosecurity CRC for Emerging Infectious Disease

Building 76 Molecular Bioscience
The University of Queensland
St Lucia  QLD  4072

Phone  +61 (0)7 3346 8864
Mobile 0423 782 198
Fax  +61 (0)7 3346 8862
Email  corinna.lange at abcrc.org.au
Web  www.abcrc.org.au

More information about the ASC-media mailing list