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Big news on bananas.

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Big news on bananas

March 17, 2005

Protesters march at the Banana Rally fighting for the banning of banana imports

Member for Kennedy Bob Katter said the Senate Inquiry’s scathing indictment of Biosecurity’s decision to allow bananas into Australia has vindicated the ‘banana war’ that has been waged by many heroes in North Queensland.

Mr Katter said the Senate Rural Affairs Committee found the risk assessment of Philippine banana imports by Biosecurity Australia failed to take proper account of scientific evidence and economic consequences and, as a result, undermined Australia’s low risk quarantine system.

The Senate Inquiry had been relentless in pursuing Biosecurity over it’s watering down of Australia’s quarantine standards over the past four years.

“This is a magnificent victory for those 2,000 protesters - particularly key figures such as Val Currie, Greg Vuleta and the ‘Robbo’ Robinson’s who took to the streets in Cairns and fought in the banana war.

\"However, no-one is to lower their guard because the battle is not yet over,” Mr Katter said.

He said there had been media reports today reporting that the Philippine Government would not be lodging another application. He said at this time, no official response had been forthcoming from the Minister or the Government whether they would go back to the original Biosecurity decision which refused an import permit.

“It would be incomprehensible that the Federal Government would allow in the bananas in light of the unanimous, all-party decision by the Senate,” Mr Katter said.

He said the waging of the banana war will rescue $300 million a year for the Australian economy and protect over 5,000 jobs in Far North Queensland.

“This victory was secured because we had in place a non-Government Senate. Had the Government had control of the Senate, the inquiry would never have happened,” Mr Katter said.

He said without this inquiry the serious risk of Moko and 22 other devastating diseases could have been ignored by the Government.