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Biosecurity Advice 2013/01 - Draft review of the importation of grapevine (Vitis species) propagative material into Australia

​18 January 2013 

This Biosecurity Advice (BA) invites stakeholders to provide comments on the ‘Draft review of policy: importation of grapevine (Vitis species) propagative material into Australia’ by 18 February 2013.


DAFF initiated this review as new pathogens have been identified on grapevines and several pathogens have extended their global range.

DAFF regularly reviews existing policies to import propagative material of various commodities to safeguard Australian Agricultural industries from exotic pests.

Under the existing policy imported grape material (dormant cuttings and tissue cultures) undergoes growth in PEQ facilities for a minimum of 24 months with disease screening. This process is time consuming for industry and therefore the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation requested Plant Biosecurity to review and develop PEQ protocols for Vitis nursery stock that will minimise the time imported cultivars spend in quarantine, while maintaining quarantine integrity.

DAFF has been working to improve the speed with which imports can be achieved to provide industry with access to improved overseas varieties of grapevines. In this context, DAFF has proposed the introduction of molecular tests to replace lengthy woody indexing procedures for certain pathogens. Additionally, DAFF has proposed a framework to approve overseas sources to supply pathogen tested propagative material.

Proposed measures

The existing conditions (fumigation with methyl bromide; hot water treatment; visual screening for disease symptoms in PEQ and active testing) are further strengthened through the introduction of additional diagnostic measures to protect Australia from exotic pests.

The introduction of molecular techniques will improve the efficacy of detecting pathogens, thereby strengthening risk management measures for grapevine propagative material. The review proposes several changes to the existing policy that will reduce the amount of time required for grapevine dormant cuttings and tissue culture to be grown in PEQ facilities.

The major proposed changes for non-approved sources are:

  • All grapevine propagative material

    • Replacing woody indexing for grapevine virus B (corky bark strains) with mandatory molecular testing; and introducing mandatory electron microscopy for detection of viruses.
  • Dormant cuttings

    • Introducing mandatory surface sterilisation (1% sodium hypochlorite solution for 5 minutes);
    • Increasing hot water treatment time from 20 to 30 minutes at 50 °C; and
    • Introducing additional molecular testing, thereby reducing of the PEQ period from 24 months to a minimum of 16 months.
  • Tissue cultures (microplantlets):

    • Reducing the PEQ period from 24 months to a minimum of 12 months; and
    • Replacing hot water treatment with mandatory PCR for detecting Xylella fastidiosa.
  • Seed for sowing (from non-approved sources):

    • Increasing the PEQ period from 3 months to 9 months.

The proposed changes to import requirements for dormant cuttings and tissue cultures from non-approved sources will also apply to material from approved sources (e.g. the PEQ period will be reduced to 16 months for dormant cuttings and 12 months for tissue cultures). Seed for sowing from approved sources is currently not subject to PEQ and this is recommended to continue.

DAFF invites comments on the technical aspects of the proposed risk management measures for grapevine propagative material. In particular, comments are sought on their appropriateness and any other measures stakeholders consider would provide equivalent risk management outcomes.

Comments on the draft report should be submitted by 18 February 2013 to:

Plant Biosecurity
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
GPO Box 858

Telephone: +61 2 6272 5094
Facsimile: +61 2 6272 3307
E-mail: Plant Biosecurity

DAFF will consider all submissions received on the draft review in finalising the review of policy
Please pass this notice to other interested parties. If those parties wish to be included in future communications on this matter they should contact Plant Biosecurity.


Stakeholders are advised that, subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 and the Privacy Act 1988, all submissions received in response to Biosecurity Advices will be publicly available and may be listed or referred to in any papers or reports prepared on the subject matter.

The Commonwealth of Australia reserves the right to reveal the identity of a respondent unless a request for anonymity accompanies the submission. Where a request for anonymity does not accompany the submission the respondent will be taken to have consented to the disclosure of his or her identity for the purposes of Information Privacy Principle 11 of the Privacy Act. The contents of the submission will only be treated as confidential if they are marked ‘confidential’ and they can be classified as such in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act.