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Australian government sued over EI outbreak

A QUEENSLAND stud is seeking damages from the Australian government for negligence, legal costs and interest on damages  in a landmark legal action over the 2007 equine infuenza outbreak, according to a report in The Australian newspaper.

The disease cost the country's racing and breeding industries a reported A$1 billion and caused the cancellation of the Sydney spring carnival meeting, after it escaped from an Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) facility at Eastern Creek near Sydney.

Lawyers acting on behalf of Wattle Brae Stud, at Nobby on Queensland's Darling Downs, on Tuesday submitted papers at the Supreme Court of Queensland seeking compensation.

They allege that "at the time of the escape of the virus, the defendant, the minister, the director of quarantine, AQIS and Biosecurity had failed to take reasonable steps to establish a system of quarantine to control or prevent the introduction of, establishment of, or spread of equine influenza throughoutAustralia and thereby their duty of care to the plaintiff."

The legal battle will be viewed by many in the Australian breeding industry as a test case, with one of the lawyers acting on behalf of Wattle Brae Stud claiming that more than 600 claims would be lodged if it was successful.

Wattle Brae Stud, owned by Gary and Phoebe Turkington, stands five stallions, and campaigns 2009 Australian Group 3 winner Court Command.





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