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Wednesday, 15 May 1957

Mr Ward d asked the Minister for Trade, upon notice -

1.   What was the (a) quantity and (b) value of Cymbidium orchid plants, including seedlings imported into Australia in each of the last five years?

2.   From what sources are these plants or seedlings obtained?

3.   Is any limitation placed upon the quantity or value of these plants which may be admitted; if so, what are the details?

4.   Is there an export trade with respect to blooms, plants, or seedlings?

5.   If so, what has been the (a) quantity and (b) value exported in each of the last five years?

6.   Are imported plants or seedlings subject to quarantine provisions; if so what are the details?

7.   Have these provisions been varied in the last five years; if so, in what respect?

Mr McEwen - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   Cymbidium orchid plants are not separately recorded for statistical purposes.

2.   As these orchids are not separately recorded the origin of these plants is not known.

3.   No quantitative restrictions are placed on the importation of these goods.

4.   There is an export trade in orchid blooms from Australia, but there is no regular or significant export of orchid plants, seedlings or bulbs.

5.   Australian exports of commercial cut flowers and potted plants (including orchids).


The following answers have been provided by the Commonwealth Department of Health:-

6.   All imported plants are subject to plant quarantine, the provisions varying with the type of plant, the country of origin and the estimated risk of introducing diseases and pests. Orchids are treated as nursery stock and may be imported by approved importers whose premises are registered for this purpose and under such conditions as are determined from time to time by the Director of Quarantine.

7.   In accordance with normal procedure these conditions have been varied during the past five years. When orchids were first made subject to nursery stock regulations they were all fumigated upon arrival irrespective of country or place of origin. Evidence was presented by the United Kingdom Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, by orchid-growers in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and United States of America, that automatic fumigation was unnecessary for orchids originating in special orchid houses maintained free of insect pests and certificated to that effect by the appropriate Government authoriy. When this evidence was confirmed by inspectors in Australia, exemption from fumigation was granted to orchids so certified. AH orchids are still subject to inspection upon arrival, such treatment as is found necessary and are maintained in postentry quarantine until inspectors are satisfied that they are free from pests and diseases.

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