Media statement: National response to Citrus canker detection

Australia has responded swiftly to the recent detections of citrus canker in Northern Territory using established arrangements that are in place to support a rapid, nationally-coordinated response to pest and disease detections.

These detections are restricted to the home and garden sector, unlike the outbreak in Emerald, Queensland in 2004. The affected host plants are potted retail citrus plants destined for people’s garden and patio pots.

There is no evidence that citrus canker is present in citrus production areas.

All infected plants and host material found at the initial retail premises and its supply nursery have been seized and destroyed. An extensive and thorough tracing program has also been undertaken to find and destroy other potentially-affected host plants. 

The detections in Western Australia do not indicate that citrus canker is spreading from the initial detection. These detections have resulted from the tracing of infected host plants from the Northern Territory.

Control zones and movement restrictions were swiftly implemented in both the Northern Territory and Western Australia. There have been no detections in other jurisdictions.

Temporary interstate movement restrictions are also in place across the country, as a precautionary measure and to support containment of the disease.

A nationally-agreed response plan is being implemented. The objective is to eradicate all known infections. 

Through the Consultative Committee on Emergency Plant Pests (CCEPP), the department continues to work closely with all states and territories and industry stakeholders to implement the agreed response plan.

Work is also being undertaken to establish the likely origins of the outbreak. At this stage there is no evidence of biosecurity import conditions being a problem. It is also clear that it is not a re-emergence of a past outbreak.

Australia’s approach to responding to pest and disease detections is based on the latest scientific information, rigorous risk-based analysis and is regularly tested through simulated, nation-wide biosecurity exercises.

Biosecurity responses are complex and involve significant collaboration. However, Australia’s system continues to allow us to respond swiftly and effectively to potential biosecurity risks, to safeguard our vital agriculture industries and environment.

For more information on Australia’s biosecurity response arrangements, visit How we respond to outbreaks.

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