Bio-Security PAYS OFF FOR PIG FARMERS IN FLU SCARE; Local Disaster Management Group's Watching Brief as State Goes on Pandemic Alert

Article excerpt

RUSS Hopper has been a pig farmer for three decades, and knows the importance of bio-security in his industry.

It was only coincidence that he underwent a bio-security audit yesterday at his Bonna Road farm as the government defended the state's $230 million pork product market amid growing fears around swine flu.

"We build in acute quality assurance," said Mr Hopper, who runs about 2000 pigs at the Bonna Road site.

Despite the premier placing Queensland on pandemic alert, Bundaberg Region Mayor and chair of the regional disaster group Lorraine Pyefinch was equally focused yesterday on being alert rather than alarmed.

She said the group was on a "watching brief".

"We are part of the overall (state) disaster management plan," she said, adding that the regional team would follow directions delivered through Queensland Health.

Bundaberg Port was continuing its usual measures with international arrivals yesterday and the airport remained unaffected because it only has domestic flights.

In Brisbane, the state's chief health officer Jeannette Young said that of 16 suspected cases of swine flu in Queensland, six had been cleared.

Dr Young said authorities were expecting to diagnose a case of the flu in Australia, which was why precautions were being taken. …