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Australia on Notice: rule on apples or face world

Media Release

March 30 2006

Australia on Notice – rule on apple access or face embarrassment on the World Stage

Angry New Zealand apple growers sent representatives to Australia today to tell the Government it has three months to rule on export access – or face embarrassment on the world stage.

Australian Access Action Group (AAAG) – Rupert Ryan and Dermott Malley are in Canberra today to put the Government and its officials on notice.

Mr Ryan and Mr Malley said the Australian Apple Industry had mounted a huge charade over the threat of a disease coming from New Zealand apples which had already been in Australia.

Australian apple growers claim fireblight would be the end of their industry.
Fireblight was found both in Victoria and South Australia and it did not wipe out the industry or cost hundred of millions of dollars.

“It’s a massive sham and they’ve managed to hoodwink the Australian Government, public and the media,” they said.

While in Canberra Ryan and Malley will hand over AAAG’s submission to Biosecurity Australia on its draft Import Risk Analysis. sets out rules for importing New Zealand apples

Mr Ryan said the draft is once again full of unjustifiable restrictions and New Zealand growers are angry at the constant delays and stalling tactics.

“The trade ban has been for 85 years and this latest process round has dragged on since 1980.

“Even now the Australians have given no deadline for the length of the time it will take to examine submissions and then to release the final IRA”.

Mr Ryan said the message would be clear - Australia is on notice – it has three months to deliver the final IRA.

If not, we will go to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) where Australia will be exposed for its double standards on free trade, he said.

“The Australian Minister of Trade Mark Vaile tells the world his Government is a leading supporter of free trade but then doesn’t practice what he preaches.”

“Another example of protectionism is Australian Agricultural Minister Peter McGauaran called for a public boycott of imported New Zealand vegetables over the Tasmanian potato issue.

“Australia continues to put up trade barriers and stalling tactics,” he said.

“New Zealand produces safe, healthy and delicious apples and the Australian growers, their Government and its officials know it” he said.

The mitigating measures suggested by Australia in the draft IRA, prove its officials ignore scientific evidence, international trade data and WTO rulings – where the best scientists judge every country.

Australia still totally ignores the WTO ruling on fireblight. The fact is mature apples do not spread the disease.

Western Australia then tries to use Black Spot/Apple Scab as another reason to keep New Zealand apples out.

“They’ve already got it in their own back yard. Western Australia has had 17 outbreaks of the disease but still tries to maintain a disease free status!”

“This shows Western Australia is misrepresenting itself as disease free to Australia and the rest of the world.

This disease is controlled by sprays which WA use to control other diseases. The outbreaks coincided with weather conditions suitable for Apple Scab, which is called Black Spot in New Zealand..

The next barrier they have come up with is European Canker.

“Australia has already had it and used a management programme only controlling movement of apple wood – not fruit - and the disease did not spread. It shows one rule for Australia and another to the rest of the world.

In the IRA Biosecurity Australia has also used out of date information, and worse still, not acknowledged scientific data for the pests Codling Moth and Leaf Curling Midge .

New Zealand exports to many countries that are free from one or both of these pests including Taiwan where it has exported 700m apples with no pest interceptions.

New Zealand is a world leader in apple exporting – when given a fair chance we perform outstandingly.


© Scoop Media

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