Communique - Banana Freckle

​3 October 2013

National eradication program for banana freckle

The National Management Group (NMG) met on 3 October 2013 to consider the need for a national eradication response to banana freckle (Phyllosticta cavendishii previously known as Guignardia musae) in the Northern Territory.

The NMG, comprising of government representatives and the affected industry parties of the Australian Banana Growers’ Council and Nursery and Garden Industry Australia, agreed to a nationally cost-shared response program to eradicate this emergency plant pest following its detection on Cavendish bananas.

All parties supported the immediate commencement of an eradication response. This decision was in recognition of the impending onset of the wet season in the Northern Territory. Quarantine measures are already in place in these areas around the affected properties and surveillance will continue in conjunction with the approved eradication activities.

The eradication response will be conducted by the Northern Territory in accordance with the response plan agreed by NMG under the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (the deed). This deed is the agreement between the Australian Government, all state and territory governments, national plant industry bodies and Plant Health Australia to manage national responses to emergency plant pests.

All parties acknowledged the importance of the deed in providing well established national eradication response arrangements, including the facilitation of prompt decision making and provision for sharing funding across affected parties.

The deed plays a significant role as part of the national biosecurity system in protecting Australia’s favourable pest and disease status by ensuring that signatory plant production industries can contribute to national decision making and emergency plant pest responses that may impact them.

The NMG decision to implement this program is evidence-based and recognises the economic benefit of eradication and the advice from the Consultative Committee on Emergency Plant Pests which indicates it is technically feasible to achieve.

Banana freckle is a fungal disease affecting both the leaves and the fruit of banana trees and can reduce the yield and health of infected plants. It represents no risk to human health. Further information on the response to banana freckle is available on the Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries website.