Australia: New rules to import cut flowers

10-07-2019    02:30   |    Cally Dupe/The West Australian

West Australia’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 Colombia — 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.

The changes come after a 2017 review of import conditions found that having one critical control point to manage biosecurity was increasing the risks to Australia.

It also found high rates of pest detections in consignments of imported fresh cut flowers and foliage at the Australian border.

Some countries were failing inspections more than 50 per cent of the time.

GBAC member Ray Marshall, who represents WA Grains Group, said there had been “some holes” in the system, which left the group concerned about the safety of WA’s grain crop.

The Pingelly grain grower said the group believed free trade and biosecurity “needed to go hand in hand”.

“Our intent was never to ban the importation of red roses, our only interest was to make sure the quarantine and biosecurity protocols were adequate to make sure those importations were clean and fresh,” Mr Marshall said.

Click here to read the complete article at The West Australian.

Photo credit: PxHere, CC0 Public Domain.

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