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Wednesday, 9 November 1983
Page: 2547

Question No. 410

Mr Lloyd asked the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 6 September 1983:

(1) Has his attention been drawn to the concern amongst Australian potato growers that importers of New Zealand potatoes may be breaching the strict quarantine requirement that imported potatoes be immediately processed.

(2) Are any checks made by his Department to ensure that quarantine standards are maintained in the interests of Australian growers; if so, what checks.

Dr Blewett —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Although strict quarantine conditions are set out for the import and processing of potatoes from New Zealand, this does not include a requirement that they be processed immediately on arrival. However any undue delay will not be permitted and in practice processing is completed in two weeks.

(2) Processing premises are inspected by quarantine staff and must comply with certain stringent requirements including:

adequate and secure storage facilities,

all processing wastes are destroyed under quarantine supervision,

all packaging materials are disinfected,

the importer must maintain records of all potatoes received and processed.

Potato movement in containers from wharf to the processing premises is under complete quarantine surveillance. Initial operations and processing are under regular daily surveillance.

Short of a complete prohibition the present quarantine requirements are considered adequate and satisfactory to ensure that imported potatoes are not diverted for retail.