Home' Grower : February 2012 Contents The South Australian Grower -- February 2012
and biosecurity and Tasmania's stance is
very much against that," she said.
While not wishing to comment on "negoti-
ations with state government", she said
Tasmania had not actually banned NZ apples.
"There has been legislation in place in
Tasmania for the past 13 to 14 years to pro-
tect the state from any import of fruit from
fireblight-affected countries," Ms Gregg said.
"It should also be noted that we produce
11-12 per cent of the nation's apples, have
2.5pc of Australia's population and retain
the status of an island state where barrier
control is much easier than in the rest of
"And a lot of our exports (including about
5pc of apples) to countries such as Taiwan,
Korea and Japan (cherries) and mainland
China (apples and cherries) are based on
area freedom from pests and diseases."
Independent Senator Nick Xenophon
believes the states need to "fill the gap" left
by the Federal Government's failure to
defend strict quarantine laws.
"I believe we should be revisiting the
WTO agreement," he said.
"The interpretation of the ruling has
shackled Australian sovereignty -- it takes a
purist approach to free trade, however this
is not about trade protection -- it's con-
cerned with the spread of disease.
"They have to understand that if fireb-
light gets here, it's here forever."
Sen Xenophon said there were far greater
implications for Australian agriculture rid-
ing on the issue of NZ apple imports.
"The Federal Government has dropped
the ball," he said.
"Maybe SA should revisit exclusion zones
(a policy of former Agriculture Minister
"And if Tasmania can make a case, they
should pursue it."
Mr Beaven said there had been four WTO
panel decisions on the risk of fireblight being
transferred in the trade of NZ apples:
Australia (two), the United States and Japan.
All concluded there had been "no risk".
"I think APAL and the Tasmanian gov-
ernment are probably looking at 'political'
science, rather than real scientific analysis,"
"It's more to do with the apple lobby in
Australia -- they're grandstanding.
"At the end of the day, there has been a
WTO ruling and it's up to the Australian
government to talk with the Tasmanian
Mr Beaven would not be drawn on a pos-
Independent Sen Nick Xenophon says Australian-grown apples, such as these fuji
and pink lady varieties displayed by George Augoustinos at Fred McMahon's fruit
stall, Adelaide Central Market, are in danger from disease imported with NZ fruit.
sible legal challenge to force Tasmania
to accept NZ apples.
"For now, this is a government-to-gov-
ernment discussion ," he said.
"But I think there's still a lot of water
to go under the bridge."
Chairman of Apple and Pear Australia
John Lawrenson said while he could
not comment on the legality of
Tasmania's refusal to accept NZ apples,
the biosecurity risks (of NZ apple
imports) were significant.
"Anything we can do legally to support
growers there (Tas) will be considered,"
Mr Lawrenson said he would be sur-
prised, however, if NZ would be too
concerned about Tasmania's stand.
But he noted that Canadian salmon
imports were still banned there, a
decade after a WTO ruling to allow
imports into Australia.
Buck stops with Feds: Pip Fruit NZ
PIP Fruit NZ chief executive officer Peter
Beaven believes Woolworths and Coles have
"left a lot of doors open" to accepting
While they had confirmed there were no
plans to stock NZ apples, it had not been
"The duopoly is sourcing Australian apples
first, but there have been lots of challenges
in the growing season (in Australia) and there
are varieties that cannot be grown there," Mr
Beaven said. "Things may change."
Mr Beaven also said that he had no idea
how much fruit would be exported to
Australia this year.
"It's the first season growing to Australian
phytosanitary requirements," he said.
But he said the rejection of NZ
consignments (in NZ) last year should not be
taken as a breakdown in quarantine
protocols, rather a confirmation they had
NZ growers had a clear mandate to export
apples to Australia, Mr Beaven said.
Aust must reduce
reliance on imports
By Richard Mulcahy
AUSVEG chief executive officer
THE rising level of vegetable imports in this
country continues to be a real concern for the
Australian vegetable industry, with the latest
figures sourced by AUSVEG confirming that they
are now at an all-time high.
This is despite the oversupply of produce in the
The biggest concern lies in the processed
vegetable sector -- in particular frozen and canned
Frozen vegetables contributed to about $231
million of the total imports to Australia between
November 2010 and October 2011, with key
countries of origin including China, Italy, New
Zealand and the United States.
A sustained campaign by Federal Government to
introduce better country-of-origin labelling
regulations on frozen and canned vegetable
products would ensure that consumers were
provided with clear and consistent information
regarding where these food products have been
grown or sourced from, and potentially foster
greater consumer support for the local industry.
The continued rise in vegetable imports places
significant pressure on Australian growers, who
are finding it difficult to compete with vegetables
from overseas that are often cheaper.
While these imports can be of inferior quality and
are unlikely to have been produced under the
kinds of rigorous quality control procedures that
Australian growers are committed to, this has not
stopped the level of vegetable imports from
High production and labour costs in Australia
present the vegetable industry with some real
challenges when it comes to global
competitiveness, and we must continue to find
ways to address these critical issues.
In a country that could be self-sufficient and food
secure, many Australians would probably be
surprised at the amount of vegetables being
This also highlights the confusing nature of the
existing CoO labelling, which makes it particularly
difficult to source locally grown vegetables.
We must buck the trend of increasing levels of
imports and work to strengthen the local industry,
so that it remains viable long into the future.
Australian growers are committed to providing
the nation with fresh, high-quality vegetables, but it
is essential that government and consumers alike
get fully behind the local industry and address the
challenges posed by overseas markets.
NZ apple battle
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