08 March 2018

Keeping our eyes peeled for citrus pests

  • National Citrus Biosecurity Surveillance Strategy 2018–2028 to increase monitoring of fruit fly and other citrus pests
  • Better surveillance and early detection to help safeguard industry and minimise response costs
  • Investment of $352,000 under Coalition Government’s Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper

Australia’s largest fresh fruit exporting industry received a sweetener today, with the launch of the Coalition Government’s ten-year national strategy to tighten the squeeze on fruit fly.

Member for Corangamite Sarah Henderson said a grant of $352,000 was delivered to implement the National Citrus Biosecurity Surveillance Strategy.

“Fruit fly and other pests can ruin fruit and kill market access for our valuable citrus industries,” Ms Henderson said.

“Keeping [electorate/region] free of pests is essential to the local economy, jobs and livelihoods of many of this regions’ blockies.

“Keeping Australia free of the bacterial disease Huanglongbing (HLB) and the insect that spreads it – Asian citrus psyllid – is a priority.

“Citrus canker and the nation’s number one unwanted plant pest Xylella fastidiosa also pose a grave threat to our successful citrus industry.

“In 2017 exports rose to a record 260 000 tonnes, valued at $427 million. This was an increase of 19 per cent in volume, and 31 per cent in value, from the previous year.

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud said the new strategy was the ammunition needed for a coordinated response between government and industry led by Plant Health Australia and Citrus Australia.

“Exotic pests have no business here in Australia so we’re going to war,” Minister Littleproud said.

“We need to ensure the earliest possible detection of incursions to help to limit their spread and minimise the disruption outbreaks can cause our growers, not to mention the control costs.”

If you see any exotic fruit flies, damaged fruit or anything unusual, report it to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline 1800 084 881.

To view the National Citrus Biosecurity Surveillance Strategy 2018–2028 visit www.planthealthaustralia.com.au


Fast facts

  • This investment is in addition to $9 million in funding announced last year for a surveillance network and projects to demonstrate freedom from pests and boost exports.
  • Through the White Paper, the Coalition Government announced $200 million for biosecurity surveillance and analysis to better target critical biosecurity risks.
  • In 2015–16, citrus production was valued at $678.5 million produced from 714,207 tonnes (Horticulture Innovation Australia Statistics Handbook, 2017).
  • Citrus is the largest fresh fruit exporting industry in Australia, with major export markets including Hong Kong, Japan, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, the United States and New Zealand (PHA, 2017).
  • With a reduction in import tariffs under trade agreements with China, Japan and Republic of Korea the real value of horticultural exports is expected to increase from $2.7 billion in 2015-16 to $3.4 billion in 2021-22 (ABARES Ag Commodities March quarter 2017)


8 March 2018