Farmers get pointy end of pineapple
FRASER Coast pineapple growers face an uncertain future after the Federal Government approved a decision to allow imports from Malaysia, increasing the prospect of introducing disease, says the LNP.
The industry is worth $80 million annually to Australia's economy and creates more than 1000 jobs, with the bulk of product produced in Queensland.
Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister John McVeigh said the Federal Government decision exposed local crops to the risk of exotic diseases like bacterial heart rot and fruit collapse.
"The Gillard Labor government risks wiping out a key regional industry in Queensland for the sake of its bureaucratic and process-driven open door trade policies," Mr McVeigh said.
"This is about a lazy government and faceless bureaucrats making decisions that could wipe out our pineapple industry."
Growcom, a peak industry representative body for pineapple growers, slammed a recent Impact Risk Assessment for Malaysian imports.
Growcom CEO Alex Livingstone said the Federal Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry failed to address legitimate concerns growers had about disease threats.
"The IRA allows relatively unrestricted access for Malaysian pines and has not recommended any special quarantine protocols for these two diseases, dismissing them as minor risks," said Mr Livingstone.
"The only pests identified to require quarantine measures to manage risks to a very low level in order to achieve Australia's appropriate level of protection (ALOP) are four species of mealybugs.
"It appears that avenues for appeal for the Australian pineapple industry have been exhausted since any further action against the Pineapple IRA must be based on concerns about process rather than science."