Budget 2005-06 - Independent Flu centre to protect Australians against Pandemic Flu

The Australian Government will establish an independent World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza.

Page last updated: 10 May 2005

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10 May 2005
ABB045/05

The Australian Government will establish an independent World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza.

The 2005-06 Budget provides $23.2 million over four years to establish the independent Centre.

The Centre will enhance Australia’s capacity to identify deadly and contagious flu strains such as avian influenza (bird flu).

The Centre, one of four worldwide, is the main source of flu expertise in Australia. It provides advice to WHO on influenza activity and trends in the Southern Hemisphere, including recommending strains for inclusion in the annual Southern Hemisphere seasonal flu vaccines. The Centre has direct access to the WHO global influenza network including early warnings on global developments.

Experts predict that a pandemic is more likely to occur now than at any other time in the past 50 years. Highly mobile populations and Australia’s close regional, economic and trade ties with Asia all increase the potential threat of exposure to a new virus.

Media contact: Kate Miranda, 0417 425 227 (Minister Abbott's Office)