Cut flowers and foliage

Fresh cut flowers and foliage have been imported into Australia on a commercial basis for about 50 years. With this trade comes the potential to introduce unwanted pests and diseases into Australia.

In 2017, we conducted a review of import conditions for fresh cut flowers and foliage following an analysis of inspection records. The inspection records showed high rates of pest detections on large numbers of consignments of imported fresh cut flowers and foliage at the Australian border. In addition, some countries that export fresh cut flowers and foliage to Australia were found to have inspection failure rates of more than 50 per cent.

As a result of the 2017 review, we amended the import conditions for fresh cut flowers and foliage. This came into effect on 1 March 2018. Recent analysis of the inspection records has found the amended import conditions have worked to reduce the rates of pest detections on imported fresh cut flowers and foliage at the Australian border. Pest detections across all consignments of fresh cut flowers and foliage have reduced from 56% in September 2017 to 12% in March 2021.

We initiated this pest risk analysis to assess the pests of biosecurity concern to Australia associated with imported cut flowers and foliage, and to determine whether the amended import conditions manage the biosecurity risks to achieve the appropriate level of protection for Australia.

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Pest Risk Analysis for Cut Flower and Foliage Imports – Part 1

We have completed Part 1 of the pest risk analysis for cut flower and foliage imports.

About the pest risk analysis

We initiated this pest risk analysis to assess the biosecurity risks posed by pests associated with cut flowers and foliage imports to Australia, and determine whether the introduction of revised import conditions manages the biosecurity risks to achieve the appropriate level of protection for Australia.

Part 1 of the pest risk analysis assessed the three main pest groups that have been intercepted at the Australian border on imported cut flowers and foliage – thrips, mites and aphids.

Final report

Summary of the final report

We recommend phytosanitary measures to manage the biosecurity risks posed by thrips, mites and aphids.

These phytosanitary measures are suitable to manage the biosecurity risks, to achieve the appropriate level of protection for Australia. Import permits may be required in certain circumstances.

Pests

There are 259 species of thrips, mites and aphids, known to be associated with imported cut flowers and foliage.

Of the 259 species, 84 species of thrips, 47 species of mites and 21 species of aphids are identified as quarantine pests and/or regulated articles because they can vector viruses that are quarantine pests for Australia (e.g., orthotospoviruses). These species require phytosanitary measures to manage the biosecurity risks they pose for Australia.

An additional 32 species of aphids are identified as potential regulated articles because they can vector viruses that are quarantine pests for Australia (e.g., Plum pox virus). These aphid species will be regulated at the Australian border.

Risk management measures

Pre-export

Before cut flowers and foliage are exported to Australia, the exporting country must use one of three arthropod pest management options:

  • NPPO-approved systems approach, or
  • Pre-export methyl bromide fumigation, or
  • NPPO-approved alternative pre-export disinfestation treatment.

In addition, the exporting country must ensure there are no live pests in the consignment. This is verified by the exporting country National Plant Protection Organisation’s (NPPO) pre-export visual inspection and remedial action if live pests are found.

In circumstances of changing biosecurity risk, permits may be required to import cut flowers and foliage imports.

On-arrival at Australian border

When consignments arrive at the Australian border, they will be:

  • Visually inspected to verify that the biosecurity status of cut flowers and foliage meets Australia’s import conditions.
  • Released if arthropod pests are unregulated (not of biosecurity concern), subject to freedom from other contaminants and pathogens.
  • Treated if arthropod pests are identified as regulated (of biosecurity concern), or if the consignment does not meet Australia’s import conditions.

Download final report

Department of Agriculture, June 2019

Document Pages File size
Final pest risk analysis for cut flower and foliage imports – Part 1 PDF 244 3.1 MB
Final pest risk analysis for cut flower and foliage imports – Part 1 DOCX 244 1.9 MB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit web accessibility for help.

Announcement

We announced the commencement of Part 1 of the pest risk analysis on 11 July 2018 (Biosecurity Advice 2018-12).

Pest Risk Analysis for Cut Flower and Foliage Imports – Part 2

We have completed Part 2 of the pest risk analysis for cut flower and foliage imports.

About the pest risk analysis

We initiated this pest risk analysis to assess the biosecurity risks posed by pests associated with cut flowers and foliage imports to Australia, and determine whether the introduction of revised import conditions manages the biosecurity risks to achieve the appropriate level of protection for Australia.

Part 2 of the pest risk analysis assessed all arthropod pests other than thrips, mites and aphids that have been intercepted at the Australian border on imported cut flowers and foliage—including beetles, flies, bugs (other than aphids), wasps, bees and ants, and moths and butterflies.

Final report

Summary of the final report

We recommend the same phytosanitary measures as those recommended in Part 1 of the PRA. These phytosanitary measures are suitable to manage the biosecurity risks, to achieve the appropriate level of protection for Australia.

Should the biosecurity risks change, we recommend regulatory mechanisms be applied.

Pests

There are 583 species of insects from the insect groups Coleoptera (beetles), Diptera (flies), Hemiptera (bugs excluding aphids, which were assessed in Part 1), Hymenoptera (wasps, bees and ants) and Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies), known to be associated with imported cut flowers and foliage.

Of the 583 species, 74 species of beetles, 38 species of flies, 140 species of bugs (other than aphids) and 110 species of moths and butterflies are identified as quarantine pests. These species require phytosanitary measures to manage the biosecurity risks they pose for Australia.

Thirteen species of wasps, bees and ants are known quarantine pests for Australia, and they are already regulated at the Australian border.

An additional 6 species of beetles and 10 species of bugs (other than aphids) are of biosecurity concern because they have the potential to transmit pathogens that are quarantine pests for Australia. These species require phytosanitary measures to manage the biosecurity risks they pose for Australia.

An additional 8 species of beetles, 17 species of flies, 3 species of bugs (other than aphids), and 19 species of wasps, bees and ants are identified as being a ‘contaminating pest’, which means they have the potential to be a predator or parasitoid, transmit human and/or animal pathogens, or be a nuisance pest. These species will be regulated at the Australian border if they are found on imported cut flowers and foliage.

Risk management measures

Pre-export

Before cut flowers and foliage are exported to Australia, the exporting country must use one of three arthropod pest management options:

  • NPPO-approved systems approach, or
  • Pre-export methyl bromide fumigation, or
  • NPPO-approved alternative pre-export disinfestation treatment

In addition, the exporting country must ensure there are no live pests in the consignment. This is verified by the exporting country National Plant Protection Organisation’s (NPPO) pre-export visual inspection and remedial action if live pests are found.

On-arrival at Australian border

When consignments arrive at the Australian border, they will be:

  • Visually inspected to verify that the biosecurity status of consignments of cut flowers and foliage meet Australia’s import conditions.
  • Released if arthropod pests are unregulated (not of biosecurity concern), subject to freedom from other contaminants and pathogens.
  • Treated if arthropod pests are identified as regulated (of biosecurity concern), or if the consignment does not meet Australia’s import conditions.
If biosecurity risks change

In circumstances of changing biosecurity risk, we may apply regulatory mechanisms, such as:

  • An import permit, or
  • Amending and/or suspending a phytosanitary measure, or
  • Suspending the import of a flower or foliage type and/or a country pathway.

Your feedback on the draft report

Appendix H of the final report provides a summary of key technical comments raised by stakeholders, which were considered in finalising the pest risk analysis.

Changes were made to the pest risk analysis following comments submitted by stakeholders and a review of scientific literature. Key changes are:

  • Updating the department’s interception data from January 2020 to December 2020 for the pest categorisation table and additional analysis of compliance from January 2020 to March 2021.
  • Amending text in the pest categorisation table (Appendix F) to recognise pests of regional significance to Western Australia, and to update the distribution of certain species on the advice of National Plant Protection Organisations.
  • The addition of Appendix H ‘Issues raised in stakeholder comments’, which summarises key stakeholder comments, and how they have been considered in the final report.
  • Minor corrections, rewording and editorial changes for consistency, clarity and web-accessibility.

Our response to non-technical comments raised by stakeholders is available below, ‘supplementary response to submissions on the draft report’.

Download submissions on the draft report

Available until June 2022

Document Pages File size
Apple & Pear Australia Ltd PDF 3 112 KB
AUSVEG PDF 6 1.1 MB
Cotton Australia PDF 2 934 KB
Flower Industry Australia PDF 9 216 KB
Grain Producers Australia PDF 3 141 KB
National Farmers’ Federation PDF 7 302 KB
NSW Farmers PDF 2 429 KB
WA Government Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development PDF 6 441 KB

Published submissions may not meet Australian Government accessibility requirements as they have not been prepared by us. If you have difficulty accessing these files, contact us for help.

Download the supplementary response to submissions on the draft report

Available until June 2022

Document Pages File size
Response to stakeholder non-technical comments PDF 10 714 KB
Response to stakeholder non-technical comments DOCX 10 677 KB

Published submissions may not meet Australian Government accessibility requirements as they have not been prepared by us. If you have difficulty accessing these files, contact us for help.

Download final report

Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, June 2021

Document Pages File size
Final Pest Risk Analysis for Cut Flower and Foliage Imports – Part 2 PDF 605 8.3 MB
Final Pest Risk Analysis for Cut Flower and Foliage Imports – Part 2 DOCX 605 4.9 MB
Appendix D: Arthropod pest interceptions – Part 2 XLSX 4 166 KB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit web accessibility for help.

Draft report

We released the draft report on 22 May 2020 for public consultation.

Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, May 2020

Available until June 2022

Document Pages File size
Draft pest risk analysis for cut flower and foliage imports – Part 2 PDF 588 10 MB
Draft pest risk analysis for cut flower and foliage imports – Part 2 DOCX 588 4.7 MB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit web accessibility for help.

Announcement

We announced the commencement of Part 2 of the pest risk analysis on 18 April 2019 (Biosecurity Advice 2019-P05).

Trade

Fresh cut flowers and foliage have been imported into Australia on a commercial basis for around 50 years. In 2019-20, Australia imported $74.2 million worth of fresh cut flowers, a decrease from $77.3 million in 2018-19.

Cut flower and foliage industry in Australia

In 2019-2020:

  • Australia’s total value of fresh cut flower production was worth $293 million, of which a total value of $8.4 million was exported.
  • Australia’s main export markets for fresh cut flowers were Japan, with a value of $2.8 million, and the Netherlands with a value of $2 million.
  • Australia imported fresh cut flowers worth $74.2 million.
  • The main countries which exported fresh cut flowers to Australia were Kenya ($15.8 million), Malaysia ($14.6 million), Ecuador ($10.8 million), Colombia ($9.2 million), and China ($7.7 million).

Source: Hort Innovation – Australian Horticulture Statistics Handbook 2019/20

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For more information, email imports or phone 1800 900 090 (option 1, option 1).

Last reviewed: 8 June 2021
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