Weaker Quarantine Threatens Queensland Bananas and Pineapples
August 6th 2012 05:44
Mr McVeigh said the move risked exposing Queensland's $400 million banana industry to the devastating banana disease Panama Tropical Race 4.
“This decision could crush Queensland's banana industry and I find it hard to believe that any thought was given to it before it was made,” he said.
“I've expressed my strong concern to the Northern Territory Minister for Primary Industry, Fisheries and Resources Kon Vatskalis.”
“Mr Vatskalis and his department showed their arrogance when they failed to consult with the industry and the Queensland Government before dropping this bombshell decision.”
Mr McVeigh had previously condemned the Federal Government's decision to allow pineapple imports from Malaysia, and praised Queensland Senator Ron Bowell for successfully initiating a Senate Inquiry into that decision.
“Fruit Collapse and Bacterial Heart Rot, are diseases that are prevalent in Malaysia that are presently not in Australia. These diseases are contagious, they can infect pineapple crops quickly and kills fruit in a matter of days,” Senator Boswell said.
Senator Boswell visits pineapple farm
The Pineapple industry has shrunk to approximately 150 growers, partly due to imports of canned pineapple, assisted by the high dollar. Australia currently allows imported pineapples from Sri Lanka, the Solomon Islands, the Philippines and Thailand.
Mr McVeigh said there were more than 300 banana growers in Queensland producing more than 310,000 tonnes of Australian grown bananas each year.
“I'm calling on the Northern Territory Government to heed the sound advice of industry, change its mind and reinstate the quarantine measures for the sake of common sense.”
“I will do whatever I can to stand up for Queensland banana growers and others around Australia, because our disease-free bananas not only support the economy, they are the envy of other countries.”
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