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Philippine bananas should not be imported because of\ndisease risk: Hartsuyker.



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Media Contact: Greg Pierce 02 66 52 62 33 0408 532 785 Email:greg.pierce@aph.gov.au Canberra: 62 77 4447

Luke Hartsuyker MP Federal Member for Cowper

MEDIA RELEASE

November 13, 2008

Philippine bananas should not be imported because of disease risk - Hartsuyker

Bananas from the Philippines should not be allowed into Australia because of the risk of disease, The Nationals’ Federal Member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker, said today.

Mr Hartsuyker was responding to the final import risk analysis report released yesterday by Biosecurity Australia, which proposes conditions under which banana imports might be allowed.

“It is essential that we protect the Australian banana industry’s clean, green image and in my view allowing Philippine bananas into Australia would pose a genuine threat,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“Australia has a definite competitive advantage over other nations because our bananas are free of major diseases. It does not make sense to put that reputation and the quality of our product at risk.

“It is essential that Australia remains free of exotic diseases such as Moko, Black Sigatoka and Freckle which are prevalent in Philippine bananas.

“I will be working with my Federal Nationals colleagues to carefully examine the details of Biosecurity Australia’s 600 page report.

“I am particularly interested in how Biosecurity Australia believes they can police any risk management measures in the Philippines.

“It is difficult to fathom that we would place the integrity of our Australian grown bananas in the hands of Philippine banana producers.

“The recent EI outbreak in the horse industry highlighted the dire consequences which result when our quarantine standards are not maintained.

“I will be interested to read how Biosecurity Australia believes a similar situation can be avoided with the importation of overseas bananas.”

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