38-2018 - Entomological services for imported cut flowers and foliage

13 April 2018

Who does this notice affect?

Industry stakeholders including importers, approved arrangements, freight forwarders and brokers that deal with imported cut flowers and foliage.

What has changed?

On 1 March 2018, the department implemented new import conditions for cut flowers and foliage to reduce the number of live pests arriving at our borders.

Under the new conditions, consignments arriving with live pests are secured until the pest is identified by an entomologist. Over the past 2 months significant additional data has been collected enabling the department to monitor compliance with the new conditions.

We appreciate that these stronger biosecurity measures have resulted in delays for contaminated consignments arriving at weekends.

The recent trial of weekend diagnostic services for cut flowers in Sydney has ceased and will not be reinstated at this time. Consignments found to be infested with live pests will continue to be held pending identification by an entomologist with the following exception:

  • In the lead up to Mother’s Day 2018 i.e. for the weekends 28-29th April and 5-6th May, consignments found to be infested with insect pests will be directed for onshore fumigation prior to identification by an entomologist.
  • Consignments containing flowers from suppliers where National Priority Plant Pests have been previously detected will be held until diagnostic results have been finalised.

The above arrangements including the future provision of weekend services will be reviewed before the end of June 2018 and the outcome communicated to industry.

Compliance monitoring

The department is currently reviewing the compliance of consignments imported under the new conditions. The department is aiming to reduce the rate of non-compliance due to the presence of live quarantine pests to a maximum of 10% at the consignment level for each country. This will eventually reduce the incidence of pests arriving in cut flowers and foliage and the need for onshore remedial fumigation should also reduce, allowing an expedited release process from the ports of arrival.

While there has been some improvement from countries applying offshore treatments the department is yet to see an improvement from several key trading partners using systems approaches. This lack of improvement is of significant concern to Australia.

Biosecurity risk management is a shared responsibility between industry and the department. If you are an importer subject to frequent delays at the border due to the presence of quarantine pests, the department encourages you to work closely with your suppliers to address the cause of the non-compliance or you could consider sourcing product from clean suppliers.

Further information

Enquiries regarding the revised changes to import conditions and their implementation can be directed by email to Plant Import Operations. Please include “Changes to cut flower import conditions” in the subject line or call on 1800 900 090.