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Today Tonight -

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(generated from captions) border security is about to breached Now to fears that Australia's by disease and pests foreign food imports. introduced with regulations are being considered Wholesale changes to import are fighting them, but farmers and others claiming if the borders are opened could be wiped out. entire industries Neil Doorley has more. in Australia. Could quite decimate the industry Malaysia is going to be infected. The fruit that is coming in from This has the potential to do the same level of damage to our industry as foot and mouth would do for the cattle industry. We've got to be forever vigilant any diseases like this. that we don't bring in is very low, but not zero. Our appropriate level of protection waged against foreign invaders. It's the frontline of a fight being the coffin for farmers in Australia. It's just another nail going into are digging in Potato growers like Paul Pensini against New Zealand imports a tiny destructive pest they fear will be infected with known as potato psyllid $480 million a year industry which could wipe out our the Australian Government all because import restrictions is looking to relax on some fruit, vegetables and meats. We just want a fair go. some bacteria with them, We expect them to have some potatoes, but not all of them. doesn't happen But what we will make sure is that the psyllid gets in and without the psyllid, from potato to potato. the bacterium can not spread heads Biosecurity Australia Doctor Colin Grant quarantine measures are put in place which uses science to determine what of outbreaks here. to reduce the risk very, very low. Our objective is to keep it Can't make it zero - is not import anything. only way to do that 20% of vegetables already imported, With 30% of fruit and and the United States apples from New Zealand are also under the microscope and ginger from Fiji along with beef and beef products Canada and Japan. from the United States, If we export to foreign counties, they may wish to export to us. we should accept pineapple grower? You are a fourth generation Fourth generation pineapple grower. Certainly am. You've got a lot at stake here? We're extremely concerned. We certainly have, Neil. Pineapple growers are also worried to Malaysian imports. our markets will be opened up Are you feeling vulnerable now? Absolutely, Neil. de-crowned Malaysian pineapples They fear fresh, two destructive diseases - will be infected with and heart rot. bacterial fruit collapse be coming into the country Up to 2% of fruit that is going to will be contaminated. There's no doubt about it. to turn around For Biosecurity Australia with a latent disease on it and allow this product free entry into the country, we think is just astounding. peak horticultural group Growcom. Alex Livingstone is the CEO of Let's apply some common sense. There is a significant risk here we do not need to take. and it is a risk that their paddocks, their plantations, If they get this disease into it's very, very hard to remove. by other countries A huge problem already faced have been imported. where infected Malaysian pineapples Queensland Senator Ron Boswell. the Philippines, into Costa Rica. It's jumped into Hawaii, into a single outbreak here The fear is that a year pineapple industry. could devastate our $80 million is an individual piece of fruit Every pineapple by individual people. that can be purchased so, yeah, I'm concerned. So it can spread out a long way, that we've looked at the science, I think growers can be confident we looked at the risk. that we believe exists We've reduced the risk to a very, very low level we're recommending be put in place. by the protective measures these decisions People looking at making into the country to bring this Malaysian fruit at themselves need to take a really good look about what they are doing. and be really responsible The pineapple industry thinks the risks are too high and they have appealed. Now it is up to us to get to the bottom of it. Pineapple growers had their chance Senate Inquiry this afternoon. to put their views to that is due in October. The inquiry's report