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Hartsuyker says no to banana imports.

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Media Contact: Richard Lehnert Canberra 02 6277 4447; mob 0437 262243 Email: richard.lehnert Coffs Harbour 02 6652 6233

Luke Hartsuyker MP Federal Member for Cowper


1 March, 2007

Hartsuyker Says No To Banana Imports

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.

He was responding to the draft import risk analysis report issued by Biosecurity Australia, which proposes conditions under which imports might be allowed.

“I met senior officials from Biosecurity Australia today to discuss their draft report. They are proposing stringent controls, including on-the-ground inspections by Australian experts, but my view is that the risk is unacceptable,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

The report identifies seven pests and diseases, including Moko disease, as well as a number of pests not present in Western Australia that are present in eastern Australia.

Mr Hartsuyker said he was particularly concerned by the minority view in the report, which made the following points:

- areas of low pest prevalence cannot be defined, implemented, maintained and verified in the Philippines, where Moko is widespread; - the assumptions underlying the proposed measures do not take sufficient account of the presence of undetectable, symptomless Moko-infected plants; - symptomless infected fruit is not detectable; - trials undertaken to date do not show that post-harvest chlorine treatment is

effective in reducing pathogen loads in banana floatation tanks.

“Under the rules governing world trade, we have to consider any application to import crops but my first concern is to protect the local banana industry and its clean, green image,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“I support the minority view of the risk. This is a draft report and I would urge all growers to take the opportunity to make their views known to Biosecurity Australia.”

Copies of the draft report are available from the Biosecurity Australia website at Comments have to be submitted by 30 May.