Emergency measures were introduced on 20 May 2022 to manage the risk of Xylella in Carya spp. imported as seeds for sowing. Refer to our BICON Alert for further information.
The Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry maintains a range of import requirements for a number of plant species to safeguard Australia against the bacterial plant pathogen, Xylella (Xylella fastidiosa).
About Xylella and its risk to Australia’s plant industries
Xylella is a serious plant bacteria that affects a large number of common plants species including:
- wine and table grapes
- forestry and amenity trees
Xylella is not present in Australia but is of major concern to Australia’s plant industries. If it gets into Australia it will be practically impossible to eradicate.
This bacterial disease originated in the Americas and has spread to Europe with recent detections in Spain, Portugal and Israel. In the Americas it is causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. Costs to California’s grapevines alone amount to $100 million per year.
Australia's import requirements
Emergency measures are currently in place to manage the risk of Xylella being introduced in imported host plants and some seed species.
These emergency measures were introduced to strengthen previous import conditions that were put in place for Xylella and provide assurance that at-risk material is free from Xylella infection.
The volumes of some ornamental plant material and tree species permitted entry to Australia may be reduced, and the costs of importing might increase. This is because laboratory testing will be required and longer observation times in quarantine may be necessary.
|19 November 2015||The additional import requirements came into effect for nursery stock belonging to a regulated plant family, and imported from high risk countries or regions:
|19 January 2016||Country freedom certification requirements were introduced for nursery stock belonging to a regulated family, that is sourced from low risk countries or regions.|
|6 July 2019||Addition of Israel as a high-risk country.|
|3 August 2020||Emergency measures for nursery stock were expanded to include nine (9) new plant families: Cannaceae, Gesneriaceae, Linaceae, Polemoniaceae, Resedaceae, Scrophulariaceae, Simmondsiaceae, Strelitziaceae and Tamaricadeae|
|1 June 2021||Emergency measures for nursery stock were expanded to seven (7) new plant families: Araucariaceae, Argophyllaceae, Athyriaceae, Corynocarpaceae, Dennstaedtiaceae, Haloragaceae and Violaceae.|
|5 November 2021||Emergency measures for nursery stock were expanded to the plant family, Hypericaceae.|
|20 May 2022||Additional import requirements came into effect for Carya spp. seeds for sowing, based on new evidence demonstrating the potential for Xylella to be transmitted from pecan seeds to pecan seedlings.|
The emergency measures for nursery stock apply to tissue cultures, rooted plants, cuttings, budwood, some corms and bulbs being imported from the Americas, Europe and a number of countries in the Middle East and Asia, where the disease is known to be present.
Key import requirements to manage the risk of Xylella in nursery stock include:
- Nursery stock and plant material grown in countries or regions where Xylella occurs will need to be tested offshore in accordance with Australia’s requirements, and certified as free from Xylella by the government of the exporting country.
- Material that does not meet the above requirements may be held and tested in an approved post-entry quarantine facility for 12 months or nursery stock material may be hot water treated, followed by standard post-entry quarantine screening arrangements.
- An offshore approved arrangement in accordance with Australia’s requirements to ensure the health of plants will need to be in place for offshore certification of nursery stock from high-risk countries or regions.
Some plant species currently categorised as high-risk nursery stock are not affected by the changes because Xylella testing requirements are already in place.
Phytosanitary certification will also be required for plants being imported from countries or regions where Xylella does not occur, because we want assurance that these countries or regions are free from this bacterium.
To view all import conditions applicable to your import, check our Biosecurity Import Conditions (BICON)
Australia’s emergency measures for managing the risk of Xylella is currently limited to Carya spp. seeds that are imported for sowing (planting) purposes.
To address the risk posed by Xylella, seeds must be held and tested in an approved post-entry quarantine facility for 12 months to confirm freedom from Xylella. This requirement will apply regardless of the country of origin or export.
To view all import conditions applicable to your import, check our Biosecurity Import Conditions (BICON) system.
Future changes to import conditions
The emergency measures will be reviewed and evolve as new information becomes available on the spread of the bacteria and host range. A BICON Alert will be issued to notify stakeholders of any significant changes to import conditions.
What you need to do
If you want to import plants and seeds into Australia, it is important that you check BICON for the relevant import conditions, which include applying for an import permit.
If you have any additional enquiries contact the Plant Import Operations branch (please title your email with ‘Plant T2 - Xylella emergency conditions’).
- Notification of amended emergency quarantine measures for plant pathogen Xylella fastidiosa
- Xylella and exotic vectors – Fact sheet
- Xylella fastidiosa – Plant Health Australia