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Biosecurity Advice 2012-09 - Release of the draft review for the importation of potato propagative material into Australia

​20 April 2012

This Biosecurity Advice (BA) invites stakeholders to provide comments on the ‘Draft review of policy: Importation of potato (Solanum tuberosum) propagative material into Australia’ by 21 May 2012.

This draft report reviews the existing policy and proposes additional measures to import potato propagative material from all sources. This draft report also proposes a framework for approval of overseas sources to supply pathogen tested potato propagative material to Australia and proposes approval of Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) UK as an approved source for high health potato material.

Australia initiated this review as new pathogens have been identified on potatoes and several pathogens have extended their global range. Currently, potato propagative material is allowed entry into Australia as true potato seed and tissue culture only; requiring mandatory on arrival inspection and growth in a closed government post-entry quarantine (PEQ) facility, with appropriate pathogen screening.

This review of existing policy evaluates the biosecurity risks associated with potato propagative material and the appropriateness of existing risk management measures. New risk management measures are proposed, including a new framework for accreditation of overseas sources as high-health sources (approved sources). The existing conditions are strengthened by the introduction of the following measures:

  • For true potato seed from all sources: introduction of testing for seed-borne viruses

  • For tissue cultures (microplantlets) from all sources: introduction of generic PCR tests for Potyvirus, Carlavirus, Begomovirus, Crinivirus and Potexvirus and if required pathogen specific ELISA or PCR.

  • For microtubers or minitubers (produced in a protected environment): growth in a closed government PEQ facility for a minimum period of six months for visual observation; and generic PCR tests for Potyvirus, Carlavirus, Begomovirus, Crinivirus and Potexvirus and if required pathogen specific ELISA or PCR

Plant Biosecurity considers that Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) meets the criteria of the framework for accreditation of overseas sources as high-health sources (approved sources), and proposes that SASA be approved as a high health source to supply pathogen tested potato propagative material. The following risk management measures are proposed to source pathogen tested potato propagative material from SASA:

  • Phytosanitary certificate issued by the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) with additional declaration that ‘potato propagative material in this consignment has been tested and found free of pests identified by Australia’
  • On arrival mandatory verification inspection and growth in a closed government PEQ facility for a minimum of three months to verify the application of phytosanitary measures
    • random verification testing for a range of pathogens
  • If pathogens of quarantine concern are detected during random verification tests the whole consignment will be subject to the same conditions as for potato propagative material from all sources.

Plant Biosecurity invites comments on the technical aspects of the proposed risk management measures for potato propagative material from all sources. 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 21 May 2012 to:

Biosecurity - Plant
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
GPO Box 858
CANBERRA  ACT  2601

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

The draft report is available at www.daff.gov.au/ba

All submissions received on the draft report will be carefully considered by Plant Biosecurity in finalising the draft 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.

Confidentiality

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.

 

Dr Colin J Grant
First Assistant Secretary