The committee has today tabled its report from the inquiry. The report and the Chair’s media release are available here.
The Chair’s media release issued today is available here.
The report makes eleven recommendations, to view the full report, click here:
Improving timeframes for exclusion testing
That the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries investigate the feasibility of a Hendra virus exclusion test capability in Townsville or Cairns to process samples from North Queensland more quickly than sending samples to Brisbane for analysis.
Development and evaluation of a stall side test
That the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries support the development of a rapid stall-side test for Hendra virus as a further aid to check the Hendra virus status of horses in the field, and determine whether a rapid stall side test could negate the need for HeV exclusion testing.
Temperature indicators for vaccine packs
That the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries request the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Management Authority to consider whether temperature indicators should be required to be included with Hendra virus vaccine packs given the importance of maintaining cold storage of the vaccine, including while in the field.
Advising owners of vaccine information and ‘off label’ risks
That the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, in conjunction with the Australian Veterinary Association, remind veterinarians of their obligations to provide Hendra vaccine information to horse owners and to advise owners of the risks to horses before administering the vaccine ‘off label’. This includes administering the vaccine with other medicines.
Raising awareness of processes for self-reporting adverse reactions to the Hendra vaccine
That the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries explore options to raise awareness among horse owners and equestrian groups of processes for horse owners and others to self-report adverse reactions to vaccines and chemicals.
Revision of Biosecurity Queensland guidelines
That the Biosecurity Queensland guidelines for the treatment of horses be revised to: include information on high risk areas for Hendra virus; reflect the latest research into risks for Hendra virus, and how best to manage those risks; clarify the requirements for veterinarians to wear personal protective equipment while giving Hendra vaccine to horses in accordance with workplace health and safety requirements; and clarify specific guidelines for horse care professionals other than veterinarians in accordance with standard precautions, as developed by the AVA, for all contact with horses.
Workplace health and safety guidelines for both low risk and high risk treatments
That as part of the revision, WH&S Queensland provide information for veterinarians and other horse care professions about Hendra virus risks and how to fulfil WH&S responsibilities while providing low risk as well as high risk treatments to horses.
Equine industry representatives on the Hendra Working Group
That the Minister invites equine industry representatives to participate in future Hendra Virus Interagency Technical Working Group meetings to ensure guidelines regarding the treatment of horses suspected of having Hendra virus meet the needs of the equine industry.
Hendra virus vaccination not to be mandatory
That Hendra virus vaccination not be made mandatory but left to the discretion of equestrian event organisers to require as a condition of entry and for horse owners to decide based on risk.
Promoting Hendra vaccinations of horses
That the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries promote to horse owners and equestrian groups the vaccination of horses against Hendra virus to encourage vaccination.
Changes to veterinarians’ workplace health and safety responsibilities
That workplace health and safety legislation be amended so that veterinarians are not responsible for creating a safe workplace for any person other than their staff and themselves when treating a horse suspected of being, or known to be, infected with Hendra virus.
Ministerial responses to committee reports
In accordance with the Parliament of Queensland Act 2001, s.107, the responsible minister (Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries) is required to table in Parliament a written response to the committee’s report within three months of tabling. The response must set out:
- which recommendations will be adopted, and the way and time within which they will be carried out
- other recommendations not to be adopted and the reasons for not adopting them.