This update is part of the Healthier Landscapes campaign: improving the health of our land through integrated rabbit management.
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RHD Boost Update is an initiative of the healthier landscapes campaign, produced by the Invasive Animals CRC to keep you informed about the progress and national release of RHDV1 K5 to boost rabbit biocontrol.

Progress for new rabbit control measures

The Australian Government recently announced the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has approved the registration of the new RHDV1 K5 strain of rabbit calicivirus that will strengthen Australia’s ability to manage wild rabbits.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, welcomed the approval of the new RHDV1 K5 strain, which will ensure its eventual roll out.
“This is a significant step towards having another tool to combat Australia’s most costly vertebrate pest animal, which causes our farmers an estimated $206 million in losses,” Minister Joyce said.
"Effective long-term management of rabbits is a national priority, and critical to improved productivity and increased farmgate profits. 
“Traditional methods of rabbit control, such as shooting and poisoning, have a limited impact at a national level. Biological control agents like myxomatosis and calicivirus are modern approaches that are proven to work on a large scale. 
“RHDV1 K5 is a naturally occurring overseas strain of rabbit calicivirus that Australian rabbits don’t have resistance to—and the government, together with industry, research organisations and state and territory governments, has invested in its development and proposed roll out.
“We can now take the next steps to support the future roll out of the K5 strain, including undertaking the research that will give us a better understanding of the impacts of the current RHDV2 strain and the new K5 strain once it is released.  
The K5 strain has been carefully assessed by government and industry and the APVMA has formally approved the strain for registration in Australia as a restricted chemical product. This follows a comprehensive assessment process, including public consultation. 
Read the Ministers full media statement here ] 

Are we there yet?
The regulatory approval process for RHDV1 K5

On the back of the recent announcement that RHDV1 K5 has received APVMA approval it is timely to remind everyone that the virus requires both national, state and territory approvals before a release can occur. Below is the current state of affairs as of April 2016:

  • Commonwealth Quarantine Act 1908 – Release from Quarantine was approved in July 2014 by the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.
  • Commonwealth Biological Control Act 1984 – In March 2016, Amendments were passed to the Act to clarify the definition of an organism to be consistent with the original intent of the Act.
  • Commonwealth The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act) – Application was submitted in July 2015 and is currently under consideration by the Commonwealth Department of the Environment.
  • Commonwealth Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Act 1994 and other associated Acts – RHDV1 K5 has been approved as a Restricted Chemical Product – APVMA s159.
  • State regulatory approvals and laws where relevant. 
Once all these approval processes are signed off, the release, when it occurs, will be coordinated by operational leads in each state and territory with oversight by the Invasive Plants and Animals Committee.

Update on the Expressions' Of Interest (EOI)

Just a reminder that EOIs to be a monitoring or release site for RHDV1 K5 are still being collected and collated, and close on May 31, 2016.
After this time, you will hear of the outcome of the EOI from the RHD Boost research team, likely via email.
Visit PestSmart Connect for more information and keep reading these emails for updates on this process.

ABC Landline highlights rabbits biocontrol

ABC Landline recently aired a segment about our RHD Boost project on May 1st. The segment features interviews with Project Leader Dr Tarnya Cox, National Rabbit Facilitator Michael Reid and Invasive Animals CRC CEO Andreas Glanznig, along with representatives from government, industry and animal welfare organisations.
Thanks to Prue Adams and the Landline team for producing this segment showcasing the importance of integrated rabbit management. 

[ Watch the full segment here... ]

Rollout of RHDV1 K5 in Australia: information guide

We invite you all to download our new RHDV1 K5 information guide which provides general information on rabbit biocontrol in Australia and the proposed roll out of RHDV1 K5. It outlines how to get involved in the proposed release of RHDV1 K5 and where you can get further information.

[ Download the guide here ... ]

Rabbit Free Australia website update

Our friends at Rabbit Free Australia (RFA) have recently revamped their website which now provides the latest news about rabbit control research, including that supported by RFA, and up-to-date reference material on the impacts caused by rabbits and how to control them.
"The Foundation’s website now presents some of the most recent research findings to help explain the impact of rabbits and it will assist people in staying informed about developments in rabbit control techniques, especially biological controls," said Nicholas Newland AM, Chairman of the Committee for the Foundation for Rabbit Free Australia
The site is linked to the Foundation’s Facebook page and their twitter account, @EastaBilby, both of which will be regularly updated with relevant news.

[ Visit the site here ... ]

Recent online media coverage
Have a question? Visit our RHDV K5: Frequently asked questions page
Missed an update? View the RHD Boost archives here
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RHD Boost Update is administered by the the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre
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