At a cost of $57 million, the Centre for Biosecurity at the NSW Government’s Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute in Sydney’s south-west in Menangle will test for diseases affecting animal and plant heath.
Construction of the laboratory took 90 days to complete with up to 100 site workers on the job at any given time
A range of local companies were used to supply services and materials, where local contractor Cochran Constructions was hired to manage the project.
Key features include quarantine containment facilities, plant biosecurity facilities, virology, bacteriology, microbiology and molecular biology laboratories.
There will also be upgrades to site infrastructure including waste management, power, gas, site security and stormwater management
Premier Barry O’Farrell said the centre will “spearhead” the state’s efforts in safeguarding its $9 billion primary industries sector from “devastating pests and diseases”.
“The new secure laboratory precinct allows us to test for diseases such as swine flu, equine influenza, Hendra virus and citrus canker that have the potential to devastate industry and communities,” Mr O’Farrell said.
Mr O’Farrell said hundreds of thousands of tests on samples from across NSW and Australia will be conducted at this centre annually.
“The secure laboratory precinct allows us to test for diseases such as swine flu, equine influenza, Hendra virus and citrus canker that have the potential to devastate industry and communities,” he said.
According to Mr O’Farrell, more than 180 staff will be employed at the facility, which will include some of the country’s “leading researchers”.
Minister for Primary Industries, Kristina Hodgkinson said the facility is crucial in maintaining the department’s capability to quickly diagnose exotic and emerging animal diseases.
“NSW has an enviable disease-free status that gives us an advantage in international markets,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
She said the centre will play a key role in maintaining that status through scientific research and disease diagnosis, control and prevention.
Comment below to have your say on this story.
If you have a news story or tip-off, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sign up to the Government News newsletter