THE Committee For Miners Rest (CFMR) is further concerned after Geelong Saleyards have had employees with confirmed Q Fever antibodies during the Q fever screening process.
Q fever is an airborne infection that is spread from livestock animals (cattle, sheep, and goats). As it is airborne the Q fever infection, is known to withstand disinfectants, and extremes of hot and cold temperatures, and, has the ability to travel 5km in air. It can live for many, many years.
The Committee For Miners Rest, remains firm that no livestock saleyards should be built within Miners Rest and certainly not within 800m of the 450 students of the primary school and Kinder.
CFMR claims the Miner Rest facility would be stock piling animals waste for months at a time exposed to the elements, which increases the risk of potential infection dramatically, they say.
“A vaccine is available, however is very costly, and, children under 16 and the older generation (Over 70) cannot be vaccinated. This is the main population ages within Miners Rest,” CFMR President Alicia Bond said. “With the numbers of Q Fever infection increasing every day, the relocation of the saleyards to Miners Rest is completely irresponsible and an unacceptable risk to the residents. With no risk assessment being completed, we suggest if one was completed, this would show the risk and level of exposure to the 1000s of Miners Rest residents to be high.
“With all levels of Government Ministers, saying this is not a risk, or the risk is minimal, this proves that this is not so. Every time our children or parents in Miners Rest, who cannot be vaccinated, will be a great risk of Q Fever infection, and that is not a risk many are willing to take, with residents already moving out of Miners Rest. If an infection of Q Fever is found in any Miners Rest resident due to this saleyards relocation, we are suspecting a class action will follow due to inappropriate risk exposure and also duty of care and also lack of risk assessment. We have told all levels of Government time and time again and this is simply not appropriate.
“With this number of employees infected in Geelong, it shows that Q Fever is around and has great potential to put a lot of lives at risk in Miners Rest; not only human lives, but also the multi-million dollar equine industry in Miners Rest.
“No new Saleyards should ever be built on or near new residential communities due to Q Fever alone.” A long-time stock agent at the Ballarat Saleyards said a vaccine program was held at the Ballarat saleyards a number of years ago. “Council took it upon them that all stock agents and anyone associated with handling stock be vaccinated,” he said.
“One of our staff members got it years ago and he was crook but he was one that everyone there was a sneeze he’d get the flu. “If the people out there think they are in line to get it, that’s not on. It’s like anything else – you shouldn’t get in a car because you might have a crash.” Other workers that we spoke to a the saleyards said they had no concerns about contracting Q Fever.