CANBERRA, Australia: The Australian government,   Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has commenced a risk review for fresh cut flowers and foliage imports.

This risk review will be conducted in two parts. For part one we will assess the three major arthropod pest groups – thrips, aphids and mites. For part two we will assess other arthropod pests associated with fresh cut flowers and foliage. The assessment for part two will commence in 2019.

Part one of the risk review for fresh cut flowers and foliage will be conducted in three key steps:

·        Announce part one of the risk review for fresh cut flowers and foliage, in July 2018, via Biosecurity Advice 2018-12.

·       Release the draft report for part one of the risk review for a 60 day consultation period in August 2018.

·       Release the final report for part one of the risk review before the end of 2018, following consideration of stakeholder comments.

In 2017, import conditions for fresh cut flowers and foliage were reviewed following an analysis of inspection records. The inspection records showed high rates of pest detections on large numbers of consignments of imported fresh cut flowers and foliage at the Australian border. In addition, some countries that ​export fresh cut flowers and foliage were found to have failed the inspections, with failure rates in excess of 50 per cent.

As a result of the 2017 review, import conditions for fresh cut flowers and foliage were amended and came into effect as of 1 March 2018.

This risk review was initiated to clarify the pests of quarantine concern to Australia that are associated with global imports of cut flowers and foliage. And this will draw from information provided by National Plant Protection Organisations and primarily the department’s own interception data and previous risk analyses.  The risk review was also meant to cConfirm that the introduction of new import conditions manage the biosecurity risks to achieve the appropriate level of protection for Australia.

The department uses the stakeholder register for distributing biosecurity risk analysis policy information. Stakeholders interested in receiving information and updates on this review are invited to subscribe via its online subscription service. By subscribing to Biosecurity Risk Analysis Plant, you will receive Biosecurity Advices and other notifications relating to plant biosecurity policy.

Australia is lucky to be free from many of the world’s most damaging plant pests. Exotic plant pests are capable of damaging our natural environment, destroying our food production and agriculture industries, and some could change our way of life. Australia’s biosecurity system, which includes the risk assessment process, helps protect us from exotic plant pests.

The department udertakes risk assessments of pests and identify risk management options to address any risks posed by these exotic pests. These measures reflect Australia’s overall approach to the management of biosecurity risk. Zero risk is impossible. Aiming for zero risk would mean no tourists, no international travel and no imports of any commodities. Australia invests heavily in biosecurity to ensure risks are managed.

Australia exports almost two-thirds of its agricultural produce. The future of our agricultural and food industries, including their capacity to contribute to growth and jobs, depends on Australia’s capacity to maintain its animal and plant health status.

Australia accepts imports only when we are confident the risks of pests and diseases can be managed to achieve an appropriate level of protection for Australia.

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