The Queensland Government had made significant changes to the way it handled Hendra virus outbreaks well before the ombudsman released a critical report, Premier Anna Bligh said.
Ombudsman Phil Clarke’s report highlighted inadequate communication between veterinarians and horse owners.
Clarke said systemic failures had hampered the Labor government’s response to six Hendra outbreaks between June 2006 and October 2009.
The report, released early this month, identified outdated policies and procedures, and overlapping legislation that led to inconsistent quarantine practices.
Training and resources for government agency staff, contractors and property owners were lacking.
Records of decisions made were also inadequate and there was a poor framework for compensation payments
Bligh said the report analysed how historic cases were handled, and ignored how government agencies had responded to the most recent incidents.
“They date back several years and there’s been a very significant shift in the way the matter’s being dealt with now,” she said.
“Nevertheless, when things like this happen you learn from it.”
Clarke found some Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries staff had imposed quarantines contrary to law, and were uncertain about what personal protective equipment to use and how to employ it.
The report dealt with 18 horses which died or were euthanased, two vets who died from Hendra, and a third vet who contracted the virus but recovered. Continue reading Bligh says govt acted before Hendra report