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Growers win battle, IRA retreats.



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MEDIA RELEASE

Western Australia Fruit Grower’s Association

8 October 2004

GROWERS WIN BATTLE, IRA RETREATS

WA’s 300 apple and pear growers welcome the Federal Government decision to withdraw the Revised Draft Import Risk Analysis (IRA) on New Zealand apples.

According to WA Fruit Growers’ Association (WAFGA) Executive Manager Robert McFerran, it is an excellent result, averting the triple threat faced if fire blight, codling moth and apple scab were able to enter WA from NZ.

“Under the last Biosecurity Australia (BA) IRA proposal, it would have been a matter of time before we had a major pest or disease incursion which would have devastated the WA apple and pear industry, which has a farm-gate value of $36 million.”

Growers also supported the announcement by Federal Agriculture Minister, Warren Truss that BA will be distanced from the government and its methods for determining risk properly reviewed. Once the review was complete, the IRA process would begin again.

“The announcements are a relief to growers who believe BA was making decisions based on trade rather than science,” Mr McFerran said.

He applauded the many people and organisations who rallied on behalf of WA’s apple and pear growers to achieve such a positive result.

“The WA Department of Agriculture should be commended for its robust response to the flawed revised draft IRA earlier this year and Apple and Pear Australia Limited for sustaining a formidable campaign on behalf of growers.

“WAFGA also thanks all the state and federal politicians who took up the cause.

“Only through the efforts of these people will our industry be adequately protected from the devastation of exotic pests and diseases in the future,” Mr McFerran said.

ENDS

Authorised by WAFGA and issued on its behalf by Brendon Cant & Associates, Tel 08 9385 7779 MEDIA CONTACT: Robert McFerran, WAFGA Executive Manager, Mobile 0409 297 216

WAFGA/Various/IRAwithdraw.doc

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