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Tuesday, 6 September 1983
Page: 443

Question No. 243


Mr Staples asked the Minister for Science and Technology, upon notice, on 26 May 1983:

(1) Are there any exotic plant pathogens being researched on, and currently stored in Australia; if so, (a) what are these pathogens, (b) who is working on them, and (c) what level of microbiological security are these pathogens being used and stored.

(2) Are any of the exotic plant pathogens capable of causing damage to Australian crop, pasture or native flora.

(3) How do the microbilogical security conditions compare with those under construction at the Australian National Animal Health Laboratory (ANAHL) for the containment of live exotic viruses.

(4) Have any persons involved with these pathogens made opinions on the facilities and security of the ANAHL and the related proposal to import live foot-and-mouth disease virus.

(5) Were the opinions expressed in favour or against the live import of foot- and-mouth disease virus.


Mr Barry Jones —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Yes. (a) Rust isolates from New Zealand, Xanthomonas ampelina, X. axonopodis, X. populi, X. fragariae, X. manihotis, Pseudomonas asplenii, P. hibiscicola, Fusarium spp., Curvularia spp. Drechslera spp., Tomato bushy stunt virus, Phialophora spp., Coryneform bacterium causing stunting of Cynodon dactylon, Agrobacterium rubi. Cadang cadang viroid, Cucumber pale fruit viroid, Chrysanthemum stunt viroid, Potato spindle tuber viroid, Beet curly top virus, Clover yellow vein virus, Clover yellow mosaic virus, Pea streak virus, Peanut stunt virus, Red clover vein mosaic virus, White clover mosaic virus, Ustilago spinificis. U. renderi, Broad bean mottle virus, Belladonna mottle virus, Cacao yellow mosaic virus, Clitoria yellow vein virus, Dulcamara mottle virus, Eggplant mosaic (Type strain) virus, Erysimum latent virus, Okra mosaic virus, Ononis yellow mosaic virus, Plantago mottle virus, Poinsettia mosaic virus, Scrophularia mottle virus, Wild cucumber mosaic virus, Cucumber green mosaic virus, Sunnhemp mosaic virus, Botrytis spp., Erysimum latent virus.

(b) Mr J. D. Oates, Dr P. Fahy, Dr L. Burgess, Dr J. Alcorn, Dr G. Behncken, Dr L. E. Leightley, Dr D. S. Teakle, Dr C. Hayward, Dr R. H. Symons, Dr J. Randles, Dr R. Francki, Dr A. J. Gibbs, Dr. R. Cruickshank, Mr P. Jenkins, Dr D. D. Shukla.

(c) Imported cultures may be used in the laboratory of the applicant only. They must be labelled and held separately from other cultures. Glassware and other equipment must be sterilised after use.

Few cultures are permitted entry for experiments involving plant inoculations. These are performed in growth cabinets or glasshouse compartments, access to which is strictly limited to responsible personnel only. Plants must be destroyed and pots and soil sterilised on completion of tests. There is a regular check maintained on cultures imported into Australia.

(2) Yes.

(3) The conditions for containment of live plant viruses are less secure than those at the Australian National Animal Health Laboratory (ANAHL) which will be the most secure microbiological laboratory in Australia.

(4) Yes. Of those listed in 1 (b) above Dr Gibbs has made representations to Ministers and made public statements on the proposal to import foot-and-mouth disease virus.

(5) Dr Gibbs was opposed to importation of foot-and-mouth disease virus.