Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 14 June 2011
Page: 5975


Mr JOHN COBB (Calare) (17:37): I thank Minister Burke, who is representing the minister for agriculture. He mentioned myrtle rust. As long ago as April last year we brought up the issue of myrtle rust with the government, and industry had done the same before then. My question is: why, despite evidence to the contrary, did the government not concede this was in fact guava rust, which is a far more serious disease with the ability to attack some 60 different species, including Australian eucalypts. The commercial industry, the nursery industry, had to get independent confirmation of what it was. Why was the federal government so determined not to concede that that was what it was? It was taken from the Central Coast of New South Wales to Queensland not by wind, as was first reported by government sources, but obviously by human intervention—no doubt accidentally. The commercial industry knew what it was. Why did the government refuse to come to terms with it? New South Wales did its best with only a small amount of money. It was said to be endemic rather than something that had to be dealt with, and it got up to Queensland. It has the ability to be enormously dangerous commercially, environmentally and in every other way.

Regarding the Asian honeybee, my question to Minister Burke, the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, is: why did the federal government not wish to continue the eradication program at a time when the area covered by the Asian honeybee in Northern Queensland was probably no bigger than the Sydney Basin and it was still very much an issue that it be eradicated and not turned? I am happy to leave it at that and come back.