WA’s grain industry has led a successful push to tighten biosecurity laws surrounding the importation of cut flowers, with the aim of protecting the State’s $6.5 billion grain crop from devastating pests.
Grower biosecurity representatives on the Grains Biosecurity Advisory Committee were celebrating this month after the Federal Government announced it would put extra safeguards in place for the importation of fresh cut flowers and foliage.
About $70 million worth of flowers landed on Australian shores in 2017-18, up from $63.5 million in the 12 months prior.
Most of the imports hailed from Kenya, Ecuador and Columbia — countries which have a number of pests not in Australia, including types of thrips, aphids and mites.
From September, countries exporting cut flowers and foliage will be required to manage biosecurity risks on their own shores before the products set sail.
Australian importers will also have to apply for a special import permit from the Federal Government to import cut flowers and foliage from Kenya, Colombia and Ecuador.
Previously, imported cut flowers and foliage could be fumigated on-shore, with methyl bromide, and importers did not need to apply for a import permit.
Federal Department of Agriculture plant biosecurity head Marion Healy said the new regulatory arrangements would help significantly reduce the high volume of live pests of biosecurity concern arriving in Australia. “Permits will initially be granted for a short period to allow us to assess the effectiveness of the permit conditions at reducing the biosecurity risk,” Dr Healy said. “We will only agree to approve further permits if we’re confident the importer is managing the risks and is sending consignments with low pest loads.”
Source: The West Australian (Cally Dupe)