Apple growers in Australia are outraged at the potential for Chinese imported apples entering the Australian market over biosecurity fears.
Apple growers got the opportunity yesterday to voice their concerns to the Rural, Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee yesterday at a hearing at the Stamford Airport Plaza in Sydney.
Nationals Senator for NSW and Deputy Leader of the Nationals in the Senate, Fiona Nash, said she was pleased that apples growers could have their voice heard on the importation of apples from China.
“The Minister, Tony Burke has completely ignored the concerns of the apple industry. Apple growers deserve better.” Senator Nash said.
Earlier this month Apple and Pear Australia Limited had its appeals to the Import Risk Assessment Appeals Panel (IRAAP) rejected. Apple and Pear Australia Ltd (APAL) was informed that four of its objections to the provisional final IRA for apple imports from China were disallowed, and one was found to be outside the grounds for appeal.
Darral Ashton, chairman of APAL, said he was very disappointed with the result.
“We believe our grounds for appeal were real and compelling. The rejection of the appeal is a real blow to the Australian apple and pear industry,” Mr Ashton said.
APAL biosecurity issues spokesperson and Fire Blight Task Force chairman, John Corboy is particularly concerned about the threat of Drosophila suzukii an insect which is believed to be a threat to Apple and other fruit crops already in the USA and fears that this will spread to China and as a result of these imports, Australia.
“This insect has only just emerged in the US as a major pest impacting a range of fruits. There is a lot of literature that indicates this pest infects apples. The IRAAP said that commenting on D suzukii would be commenting on the scientific merits of the IRA, and that is outside the IRAAP’s terms of reference,” he said.