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West Papuan dance troupe's property seized, Aust.

Quarantine Standards will be maintained

The seizure of equipment and costumes from a visiting West Papuan dance troupe is entirely justified and necessary for Australia to maintain its quarantine standards.

Minister for Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry Peter McGauran has recognised the cultural importance of a visit from the West Papuan dance troupe. However, the Minister says Australia's quarantine requirements will not be compromised.

He says quarantine authorities have provided significant resources to assist the troupe to meet the strict quarantine rules.

Mr McGauran has supported the work of quarantine authorities in guaranteeing that equipment and costumes brought in by the troupe do not pose a risk to Australia's disease-free status.

"While authorities have cleared most of the equipment, some such as bird wings, feathers and plant material that do not meet Australia's strict regime will not be released into the country," he said.

"While this is regrettable, protecting Australia's unique disease and pest-free status must remain paramount.

"Quarantine officials will, of course, respect any of the equipment that has cultural significance for the dance troupe, and will make sure that they are available to return with the dance troupe when they depart Australia."

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