Home' Grower : August 2011 Contents The South Australian Grower – August 2011
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General manager: Joe Wallman
Editor-in-chief: Peter Brady
Production editor: Percy Henry
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❏ By PETER BRADY
FIREBLIGHT has the potential to
destroy Australia’s $500 million apple
and pear industr y within a relatively
short time if watered down World Trade
Organisation protocols remain the bench-
mark for the importation of New Zealand
But the wider ramifications – assuming
‘basic orchard practice’ continues to under-
pin minimal quarantine standards – are
frightening, according to Member for Mayo
As 270 people, including almost every
grower in the Adelaide Hills, descended on
Lenswood to vent their frustration and
anger at the Gillard government’s determi-
nation to allow the importation of NZ
apples into Australia, only draft legislation
prepared by Federal shadow agriculture
minister John Cobb stood in the way of
what Apple and Pear Growers Association of
SA chief executive officer Greg Cramond
said would be a catastrophe.
“Biosecurity Australia’s proposal washes
away any meaningful protocol for the impor-
tation of NZ apples – there are more strin-
gent regulations covering China’s exports,
and they don’t have fireblight,” he said.
“NZ already faces much tougher quarantine
laws to get apples into Tawaiin and Japan.”
Mr Briggs, who supports free trade,
believes the Federal Government has missed
“Freeing-up trade is about competition, a
level playing field, not about taking away
quarantine arrangements,” he said.
“You can understand the WTO objecting
to ‘artificial protection’, and that’s a judge-
ment it has made in the past – but this is
about the sustainability of an industry.”
Mr Briggs said there was a precedent
being set which could threaten the fabric of
quarantine control in Australia.
“I think politicians like Senator Bill
Heffernan clearly see the wider conse-
quences,” he said.
“Precedents are important – there are
quite clearly dangers for other agricultural
industries if the standards for the importa-
tion of NZ applies is accepted as the norm.
“Personally, I think (BA) has moved away
from putting science first.
“It’s interesting that if you drive from
Mildura to Renmark you go through a fruit
fly checking station, but there will be virtual-
ly no checks on the importation of containers
of NZ fruit – it’s a poor reflection of where
we are leaving quarantine protection.”
Mr Cramond said Labor and Greens
politicians were “notable by their absence”
at the July 28 protest rally.
“A big fat zero – despite all of them being
invited,” he said.
“It is vital that everyone interested in this
issue - growers and the wider public write to
senior politicians, especially those with clout
such as Penny Wong, Sarah Hanson-
Young, Julie Gillard and Joe Ludwig – to
support John Cobb’s draft legislation.
(It will be introduced when Federal
Parliament resumes in mid-August)
“Keep sending letters and emails – it’s our
Mr Briggs said Independent Senator Nick
Xenophon, who spoke at the rally, had indi-
cated that he would support the legislation.
“So we must get support from the Greens
surely they see this as something that fits
with their policies,” he said.
• See p4-5
■ 270 demonstrator vent frustration,
■ Precedent danger for ag industries
■ Labor, Greens ‘notable by absence’
☛ AT A GLANCE
Jamie Briggs, MP, says science
has been left out of the debate.
COVER: Senator Nick Xenophon addresses
the Lenswood rally.
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