Gillard Government opens the door for disease in Australia
May 6, 2011
Federal Labor Minister for Agriculture, Joe Ludwig has sold out on the agriculture and horticulture industry by endorsing the draft recommendations contained in Biosecurity Australia’s draft report.
These recommendations would allow fresh New Zealand apples in to Australia with minimum quarantine checking. This is despite their struggle to eradicate the bacterial disease fire blight over the last 80 years.
Federal Minister for Murray, Dr Sharman Stone said “That after decades of the Coalition insisting the science had to be right given the risks, Labor has rolled over and rushed in minimal conditions to protect Australia’s apples and pears, and even our roses.”
“We also know other diseases and pests can hitch a ride on fresh fruit but Biosecurity Australia does not seem to care.”
“Australia should not have to apologise for our previously strict science based approach,” Sharman Stone said.
“The key fundamental issue here is that Australia at this point in time is virtually disease free and we as a country should not make any apology for our stringent quarantine requirements.
“Biosecurity Australia proposes to inspect only 600 fresh apples from New Zealand out of a consignment of over 1 million when they reach Australia.
“Who’s to say that apple number 601 does not carry the deadly fire blight disease? This is a disease that can survive in the calyx at the bottom of the apple and can survive for a long period of time.
“Of the 49 countries that have found this disease in their fruit, not one has been able to successfully eradicate it. Given that the Goulburn Valley produces around 80% of all Australia’s pears, this could mark the end of fruit growing in the area.
“Added to this is the fact that Labor’s 2009 federal budget slashed $35.8 million from the quarantine and biosecurity budgets, leading to over a hundred job losses and reduced quarantine inspections of arriving cargo.
“A copy of the draft report is available by visiting www.daff.gov.au/ba and I call on all fruit growers and concerned members in the country to respond to this draft report. Comments should be submitted by 4 July 2011,” Sharman Stone said.
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