Queensland produce gains easier access to Victoria

Published Wednesday, 21 November, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
The Honourable John McVeigh

Queensland’s fruit and vegetable industry has received a boost with Victoria changing its restrictions on produce entering the state.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry John McVeigh said the Department led negotiations with Victoria on a new entry condition for Queensland produce.

“A number of fruit and vegetables entering Victoria previously had to be chemically treated due to the tight restrictions on produce that could carry Queensland fruit fly,” Mr McVeigh said.

“Until the recent suspension by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, many Queensland crops were treated with dimethoate and fenthion.

“Both chemicals have been widely used for the control of fruit fly in horticultural production and for market access purposes for produce entering into fruit fly restricted markets.

“After negotiations with Queensland, Victoria has introduced a new quarantine entry condition for fruit fly host produce entering the state from Queensland fruit fly endemic areas.

“Many fruits and vegetables grown in Queensland are susceptible to fruit fly infestation but now our produce can enter most parts of Victoria once inspected and found free from the pest.

“This new condition is a real win for producers as it allows access to this market without the need for mandatory chemical treatment prior to entry.

“Producers should make certain they have effective in-field fruit fly controls and pack-house quality checks in place to ensure freedom from this pest before considering this new option of certifying their produce for Victoria.

“Fruit and vegetables certified for this new condition are still not permitted into Victoria’s Pest Free Area or any other state with restrictions for Queensland fruit fly.”

A new Interstate Certification Assurance (ICA) Scheme Operational Procedure Inspection of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for Freedom from Fruit Fly [ICA-47] has recently been released to help Queensland businesses meet the new entry condition.

Mr McVeigh said this new procedure would allow Queensland growers to self-inspect and certify produce consigned into Victoria against this new condition.

“A series of workshops will be delivered by Biosecurity Queensland in key horticultural centres to inform producers about the new entry condition and how they can become accredited to certify their produce for this condition under the ICA Scheme,” he said.

“The ICA Scheme is a cost effective alternative to inspection and certification of plants and plant products by government officers.

“This new option is also available under Government inspection and certification.  Businesses wanting to have produce inspected and certified for freedom from Queensland fruit fly should contact their local Plant Biosecurity Officer to make an inspection booking.”

For more information on the new Victorian entry condition, the ICA Operational Procedure and inspection services, visit www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23.

Follow Biosecurity Queensland on Facebook and Twitter (@BiosecurityQld).

[ENDS] 21 November 2012

Media Contact: Louise Gillis - 0408 709 160