Western Australia's ongoing concerns over proposed apple and banana imports from New Zealand and the Philippines have been backed by the findings of a Senate committee inquiry.
The Senate Rural and Regional Affairs Committee has found a number of flaws with the Import Risk Analysis (IRA) process and Biosecurity Australia’s handling of the process and made a range of recommendations to the Australian Government.
Agriculture Minister Kim Chance acknowledged that Biosecurity Australia had already acted upon some recommendations and changes had been made to the IRA process.
“But there is still a long way to go in the IRA process before I will be convinced there is sufficient reason to permit imports into WA,” Mr Chance said.
The Minister said there were opportunities for Biosecurity Australia to ensure protection from exotic pests with the capacity to devastate primary industries and communities.
“Following the release of the IRAs, scientists and policy officers from the WA Department of Agriculture critically reviewed the two assessments and found the risks to WA have not been adequately addressed,” he said.
“Biosecurity Australia still needs to address WA’s concerns, including those identified by the Senate committee.
“It will need to provide a convincing argument backed by sound science before WA will consider changing State quarantine legislation to allow the entry of apples from New Zealand or bananas from the Philippines.”
Mr Chance said the WA Department of Agriculture would be meeting again with Biosecurity Australia in April to discuss the apple IRA and would keep industry informed of progress.
Minister's office: 9213 6700