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Biosecurity Advice 2018-12 - Announcement of a risk review for fresh cut flowers and foliage imports

​​​​​​11 July 2018

This Biosecurity Advice announces a risk review for fresh cut flowers and foliage imports.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (the department) will prepare a draft report, which is expected to be released for public consultation in August 2018.

Fresh cut flowers and foliage have been imported into Australia on a commercial basis for about 45 years. Approximately, 10 per cent of all fresh cut flowers and foliage sold in Australia are imported. With this trade comes the potential to introduce unwanted pests and diseases into Australia.

Import conditions require importers to manage biosecurity risk before they send cut flowers and foliage to Australia, thereby reducing the number of pests that arrive at our borders. An analysis of inspection records showed that a high proportion of imported fresh cut flowers and foliage have been infested with quarantine pests (including thrips, aphids and mites); and some of the countries that export fresh cut flowers and foliage have failed inspections, with failure rates in excess of 50 per cent.

A review of the import conditions for fresh cut flowers and foliage was conducted by the department under the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper which is strengthening biosecurity surveillance and analysis. This review resulted in the import conditions for fresh cut flowers and foliage being amended, which came into effect as of 1 March 2018. The amended import conditions are available on the Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON). Information about the changes made to the import conditions for fresh cut flowers and foliage is available on the department’s website.

This risk review was initiated by the department to:

  1. clarify the pests of quarantine concern to Australia that are associated with global imports of cut flowers and foliage, and
    • this draws from information provided by National Plant Protection Organisations and predominantly our own interception data and previous risk analyses.
  2. confirm that the introduction of new import conditions manage the biosecurity risks to achieve the appropriate level of protection for Australia.

The risk review will be conducted in two parts, (i) an assessment of the three major arthropod pest groups - thrips, aphids and mites; and (ii) an assessment of other arthropod pests associated with fresh cut flowers and foliage.

The department expects to release a draft report, for part one, for public consultation in August 2018. A Biosecurity Advice will be issued to invite comments at that time.

Stakeholders interested in receiving information and updates on biosecurity risk analyses are invited to subscribe via the department’s new online subscription service.

[SIGNED]

Marion Healy
First Assistant Secretary
Biosecurity Plant Division
Telephone: 1800 900 090 (option 1, option 1)
Email: Imports