Home' Grower : June 2011 Contents The South Australian Grower -- June 2011
Heffernan slams AQIS over fireblight threat
By COLIN BETTLES
THE Australian apple industry could
soon be exposed to fireblight because
of declining quarantine and inspection
standards on apples imported from New
Zealand, according to Liberal Senator Bill
He made the claim during Senate Budget
Estimate hearings in Canberra late last
month, raising major concerns about the
heightened risk of the destructive bacterial
disease entering the country.
Together with other r ural-based Coalition
Senators, he believes quarantine standards are
being lowered as a consequence of the Federal
Government's desire to forge closer economic
ties with its trans-Tasman neighbours.
Australia is one of only a handful of
nations without fireblight.
Sen Heffernan says new trade conditions
on the imported apples rely on NZ farm
managers to detect fireblight -- not AQIS
inspections at Australian borders.
A draft review of the proposed import
conditions is under way and subject to pub-
Sen Heffernan says NZ's Otago Daily
Times newspaper has reported that an
Australian parliamentary delegation -- due
to arrive in NZ soon -- would be refused
access to NZ apple orchards.
And NZ apple growers' representatives
have told the Australian government they
are not prepared to meet with the Sen com-
mittee or arrange site visits to apple growing
Chairman of Apple & Pear Australia
Darral Ashton, who has been involved in
the dispute about imported apples from NZ
since it started in 1999, questioned why the
parliamentary delegation had been denied
He said Australia had fought hard during
world trade negotiations to maintain the
suggested protocols for NZ apple imports,
but relying on the common orchard prac-
tices of NZ growers was "a load of rubbish".
"What is it that they don't want Sen(Nick)
Xenophon and Heffernan to look at?
"It begs the question: are they going to
accept common orchard practices for our
products going from Australia to NZ?"
Sen Heffernan is understood to be making
his own arrangements regarding inspection
of the NZ apple orchards.
Mr Ashton said APA had also battled long
and hard with Biosecurity Australia over the
apple import protocols and believed the pro-
posed import regulations were not strong
enough to protect Australia from fireblight.
"We are being told by Biosecurity
Australia that the whole thing revolves
around common, normal commercial
orchard practices, outlined in the NZ indus-
"We asked to look at it but we were told it
was commercial in-confidence."
Mr Ashton said the Federal government
was telling his organisation they had 60 days
to respond to Biosecurity Australia's draft
report, including the Integrated Fruit
Production manual used by NZ growers, to
outline their farm management practices.
Sen Heffernan said budget savings on
AQIS quarantine facilities and inspection
ser vices were "lowering the bar" and forc-
ing Australia to rely on NZ farm manage-
ment practices as a safeguard against fireb-
light from imported NZ apples.
"We are not even allowed to test their
apples but I know what their farm manage-
ment practices are because I've been over
there before and seen them for myself," he
"If the NZ apple growers get fireblight, it's
not a notifiable disease -- which is ridiculous
-- so how do they know what's going on?"
Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig refuted
Sen Heffernan's claims, saying the NZ
Agriculture Minister intended to meet with
the Australian parliamentary delegation.
He said the itinerary for the visit was
something the committee needed to work
through with the NZ government and apple
NZ farm practices used to guarantee
Parlimentary delegation 'denied'
Fed Govt accused of compromise
AT A GLANCE
Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig says the
Australian parliamentary committee needs
to work through arangements with the NZ
government and apple growers.
Sen Heffernan says budget savings on AQIS quarantine facilities and inspection services are
"lowering the bar" and forcing Australia to rely on NZ farm management practices as a
safeguard against fireblight.
With an Australian School Based Apprenticeship
you can finish SACE, have paid work, and gain a
nationally recognised qualification. The
Apprenticeship also counts towards your SACE,
which means less school subjects to be done.
River Murray Training (R-M-T) supports School
Based Apprenticeships with flexible learning
options that fit around your school and work
obligations. R-M-T supports the following
Apprenticeships at Certificate III:
• Business /Business administration /
• Retail services
• Agriculture / Production horticulture /
• Viticulture (WGG)
Employers are increasingly seeing the benefits of
seeking out "good recruits" through School Based
Apprenticeships. Employers receive generous
incentives; and the apprentice's tuition is paid for
by the Government.
How? Enroll in a school based traineeship such as a Certificate
III in Agriculture. You spend one day a week (sometimes more)
working on a farm and four days a week at school.
Who does it benefit? Students who intend to work on a farm or
an agricultural industry on leaving school.
What year levels? Usually years 11 and 12
How will it affect my SACE (South Australian Certificate of
Education) If you enroll in a Certificate III in Agriculture, which is
a VET course, you will receive credit points that go towards your
SACE for all units of the course that you complete. A Certificate
III in Agriculture can contribute 180 points towards your SACE! To
achieve your SACE you only require 200 credit points.
To successfully complete your SACE you will still need to complete
your PLP (Personal Learning Plan) in Year 10, Literacy and
Numeracy units in Year 11 and the Research Project in Year 12.
The Research Project can be focused on Agriculture if you can find
a teacher to assist you.
Where will it lead me? Employment on Wheat, Sheep and
Beef properties, Dairy Farms, Piggeries, and in Agricultural
People to contact? Talk to the SACE Coordinator or the Trade
School Broker at your school; Registered Training Organisations
or your Australian Apprenticeship Centre.
You could also visit the SACE web site and navigate to VET,
where you can find out more about VET and the new SACE.
Conference Program & Registration
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