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Workshops Prepare Regional Staff for Disease Roles

by 5m Editor
18 November 2011, at 8:30am

AUSTRALIA - More than 190 Department of Agriculture and Food staff across Western Australia have taken part in workshops this year to increase their understanding of emergency disease procedures.

The two-day workshops, coordinated by the department’s Livestock Biosecurity program, were held in Geraldton, Albany, Bunbury and Northam.

Department Emergency Animal Disease project manager Sue Skirrow said the workshops were designed to ensure regional staff were familiar with the type of roles they might be required to undertake in an emergency disease response.

dr Skirrow said: "To successfully eradicate an emergency animal or plant disease outbreak and to minimise its spread and financial impact on WA’s economy, it is vital to respond rapidly and effectively."

"A fast, coordinated response to an emergency disease is only possible when there are sufficient staff who understand how the national and state emergency disease plans work, and how to carry out their role most effectively.

"Day one of the workshop introduced the participants to the emergency management arrangements at a national, state and local level ― AUSVETPLAN, PLANTPLAN and WESTPLAN.

"The second day focused on a hypothetical disease scenario, where each participant was assigned a role as they would be in a real disease outbreak, and had the opportunity to put theory into practice."

Dr Skirrow said feedback from regional directors and staff undertaking the course had been extremely positive.

"Staff have also been encouraged to increase their preparedness for an emergency animal disease response by undertaking online training available through Animal Health Australia," she said.