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Response To Australian Senate Report On NZ Apples

18 July 2001

The Government has yet to consider in detail the Australian Senate's review of how Biosecurity Australia handled a New Zealand Government request to import apples into Australia, Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said today.

"I have not yet had a chance to read the report, which has only just been released," Mr Sutton said.

"However, the Senate Committee report is a sideshow to the proper Government process, which is with Biosecurity Australia. The New Zealand Government will continue to participate in that process and that will be the focus of our attention."

Mr Sutton said Biosecurity Australia had just released an inventory of the issues that were raised in the submissions it received on the draft Import Risk Analysis on the importation of New Zealand apples.

This is to be followed by a comprehensive scientific paper and a series of workshops.

"Once again, we encourage the Australian authorities to ensure that the final determination is based on scientific evidence, not political expediency. We shall do what we can to assist in that process."

Mr Sutton said the consensus of scientific opinion was quite clear: mature apples did not transmit fireblight, when cleared of trash leaf material. New Zealand was confident that apples could be exported to Australia without any phytosanitary risk to Australian apple and pear production.

Office of Hon Jim Sutton




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