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B2004/22 - Banana, Apple and Pork growers urged to respond to consultation period on Imports.

“Industries affected by this week’s announcement of new protocols to allow the importation of Bananas, Pork and Apples should assess the new schemes and respond to the 60 day consultation period, Senator Boswell, Leader of the National in the Senate said today.
Senator Boswell said he had spoken at length to the represenatitives of the banana and pork industries and discussed their concerns about exotic diseases and pests finding their way into Australian crops through the proposed imports.

“These producers are understandably extremely concerned at the risk assessment released this week by Biosecurity Australia, both from the threat to Australia’s disease free status and from an economic point of view,” he said.

“The Federal Government, through Minister Truss, has commissioned economic impact assessments of the impact of any new pork, apple and banana imports on Australian industries, so that the industries can develop strategies for their future.

“There is no doubt there is pressure on the Government to prevent the import of bananas, apples or pork, however Senator Boswell said any rejection of the import applications must be done from a scientific base.

“Already today, banana growers have outlined concerns they have regarding the scientific interpretation of information. They plan to challenge Biosecurity’s analysis and I encourage them to do so.” Senator Boswell said he had also undertaken to investigate the scientific basis behind the decision by Biosecurity on behalf of the banana growers.

“Australians need no reminding of the impact of new diseases and pests on our rural industries,” Senator Boswell

“Recently we have seen exotic diseases devastate rural industries in other parts of the world, like the bird flu in Asia, foot and mouth in the UK and BSE in America. “Australia’s disease free status must not be threatened, we must be absolutely certain that any new import protocols ensure that our disease free status is maintained.

“I urge everyone involved in these industries to consider the new measures and submit comment and analysis of the science to Biosecurity Australia, within the 60 day consultation period, so that the information can be considered before any final decision on the imports is made,” Senator Boswell said.

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