In Agriculture

Tasmania Shadow Minister for Primary Industries Jeremy Rockliff

Green-Labor Govt Must Be Vigilant Over Myrtle Rust Threat

Victor P Taffa

The discovery of the highly destructive Myrtle Rust disease in Victoria raises a number of concerns over the capability of Tasmania’s biosecurity regime, particularly in light of budget pressures, Shadow Minister for Primary Industries Jeremy Rockliff said.

“The disease, which was first discovered in New South Wales last year, has now spread to Victoria, and poses a serious threat to native forests, vegetation and nurseries.”

“There is no doubt that an outbreak in Tasmania would have disastrous consequences, not only to native vegetation, but also the state’s forest industry.” Mr. Rockliff said.

“The Federal Labor Government has been rightly criticized over their handling of outbreaks in NSW and Victoria, both over the cost of managing outbreaks, as well as their failure to implement a strategy to deal with an outbreak.”

“Tasmania simply cannot afford similar delays, and the Primary Industries Minister needs to reassure Tasmanians that he has the effective barrier processes in place to prevent a disastrous incursion and the proper processes should the worst occur.” Mr. Rockliff said.

The impending myrtle rust threat comes as the Friends of Quarantine again raise concerns about the State’s Quarantine Barrier stating that:

  • At least 35 % of air flights into the state are not being checked by quarantine;
  • Both barrier and post-barrier pest and disease surveys are not being undertaken as per protocols, owing to the Quarantine vehicle fleet being cut by 20 %.

“The Liberals’ have already announced that in Government we would abolish the controversial Fox Taskforce and roll the majority of fund into a new, specialized biosecurity division, Biosecurity Tasmania.” Mr. Rockliff said.

“This will provide the much needed increase and focus on biosecurity and quarantine rather than the continued fragmentation and failure to protect our borders as it the case under the Green-Labor Government.”

“I urge the Primary Industries Minister to detail the exactly how the Green-Labor Government will deal with this major impending threat to Tasmania’s biosecurity.” Mr. Rockliff said.

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