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The government of New South Wales (NSW) in Australia is to provide a AUS$7.5million financial package for the state’s racing industry after it was crippled by the country’s outbreak of equine influenza (EI).

Eligible lower-income workers such as stable-hands may receive grants of up to $2,000 per household to help them meet domestic commitments. The Thoroughbred and harness racing industries will receive $3.5million assistance.

The aid was announced today by the gaming and racing minister for New South Wales, Graham West.

He said: “The package will ensure ongoing employment by helping all those who depend on the industry for their livelihoods.”

He also said he was “pretty confident” the disease has now been contained.

The financial package comes more than three weeks after the federal government pledged $110million to NSW and Queensland.

Meanwhile the first equestrian centre to contract EI in Queensland officially ended its lockdown period today which had been in place since 25 August. The Morgan Park centre in Warwick was said to receive the news with jubilation.

Chief vet officer from the department of primary industries Dr Ron Glanville said the message to anyone affected by the disease was: “There is an end in sight, but there is still a long way to go in terms of rolling out our vaccination programme and buffer zone strategy.”