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    Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Rural and Regional Queensland
    The Honourable Tim Mulherin

    Queensland’s Animal Research Institute - 100 years of agricultural breakthroughs

    Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Rural and Regional Queensland
    The Honourable Tim Mulherin

    Thursday, November 26, 2009

    Queensland’s Animal Research Institute - 100 years of agricultural breakthroughs

    Embargoed 6am 27 November, 2009


    26 November 2009

    Queensland’s Animal Research Institute (ARI) which transformed the state’s agricultural industry through research and development, is celebrating its centenary.

    Saving the lives of millions of the state’s cattle through tick fever research and a vaccination program is just one of its many achievements during its hundred-year history.

    Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Rural and Regional Queensland Tim Mulherin said the Yeerongpilly-based facility was established in 1909 and made an invaluable contribution to the state’s agricultural industry.

    “Originally called the Stock Experiment Station, it was the first facility in Australia involved in research to deal with diseases in stock,” he said.

    “Over the past century, specialists in veterinary pathology, microbiology, biometry, biochemistry, animal husbandry, information and extension have worked at the site.

    “Research conducted by dedicated staff has played a significant role in shaping agriculture in Queensland.

    “Livestock diseases have been diagnosed and treated, and industry practices for farmed animals have been revolutionised.

    “Notable achievements include management and eradication of potentially fatal cattle diseases like bovine pleuropneumonia, tuberculosis and brucellosis.

    “ARI has produced vaccines for botulism since the 1960s, and currently leads the nation in research on the impact of food-borne pathogens such as Salmonella and Campylobacter in intensive pig and poultry systems.”

    Mr Mulherin said the facility also had a key role in emergency situations.

    “After the 1987 discovery of pesticides in beef exports, ARI played a key role in ensuring Australian meat is free of pesticides and antibiotics – protecting the health of consumers and our billion dollar export markets,” he said.

    “Research programs have centred on gene testing in cattle, pigs and poultry to improve their growth and health and the quality of meat and eggs.

    “ARI has also had played a significant role in diseases that affect us all – researchers identified the characteristics of the Hendra virus in racehorses and established it is carried by bats.

    “Research into the Hendra virus is ongoing, and the rabies-like lyssavirus has also been studied here.”

    With issues such as carbon trading and climate change, ARI is pioneering research in reducing methane emission from livestock by modifying their digestive processes.

    Scientists are also utilising naturally occurring fungi as a more environmentally friendly control for cattle ticks, sheep lice and the small hive beetle.

    “To have a facility remain relevant and at the leading edge of its work over 100 years shows foresight and planning.

    “As part of the government’s Toward Q2: Tomorrow’s Queensland, many of ARI’s services will be relocated to new custom built facilities,” Mr Mulherin said.

    “This follows a $375 million partnership with CSIRO to build two cutting-edge science precincts in Brisbane – the first of their kind in Australia.

    “This will include establishment of the Health and Food Sciences Precinct at Coopers Plains to be opened next year, which will house 700 scientists.

    “They will focus on ways to help people live longer, healthier and more fulfilling lives through advances in healthcare, medicine, food and nutrition.

    “The precinct will be the first in Australia to cover, in one physical location, health and food sciences for both humans and animals.

    “Also, 1,000 Queensland researchers will join together in one location to create the country’s first $300 million Ecosciences Precinct at Boggo Road in Dutton Park, to be opened in 2011.

    “Animal based livestock research is now conducted at a custom built facility, the new $33 million Centre for Advanced Animal Science in Gatton, in partnership with The University of Queensland.

    “I am proud of all we have achieved and our new vision for the future will ensure that we remain leaders on the world stage and at the forefront of our research for at least another 100 years.”

    Media: Matt Watson 3239 3120


    What: Simmons Lecture – ARI 100 years
    (including address from Minister Mulherin and Nobel Prize winner Prof. Peter Doherty, former ARI scientist)
    When: Friday 27 November 2009
    9.30am -12.30pm
    Auditorium One
    State Library of Queensland
    Cultural Centre
    Stanley Place
    South Bank