Cut flowers and foliage

Fresh cut flowers and foliage have been imported into Australia on a commercial basis for about 45 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 failed the inspections with failure rates in excess of 50 per cent.

As a result of the 2017 review, import conditions for fresh cut flowers and foliage were amended and came into effect on 1 March 2018.

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 assesses the three main pest groups being 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 associated with cut flower and foliage imports, to achieve the appropriate level of protection.

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

Pests

Of the 259 species of thrips, mites and aphids assessed, 152 species (84 thrips species, 47 mite species and 21 aphid species) were identified as being a quarantine pest and / or a regulated article because they can vector viruses that are quarantine pests for Australia (e.g., orthotospoviruses).

A further 32 aphid species were identified as potential regulated articles because they can also vector viruses that are a quarantine pest for Australia (e.g., Plum pox virus). These aphid species will also be regulated at the Australian border.

Risk management measures

We recommend a range of measures to reduce the risk of these pests arriving in Australia via the cut flower and foliage pathway.

  • Before cut flowers and foliage are exported to Australia, the exporting country’s National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) must use one of three arthropod pest management options:
    1. NPPO-approved systems approach, or
    2. Pre-export methyl bromide fumigation, or
    3. NPPO-approved alternative pre-export disinfestation treatment
  • In addition, the exporting country NPPO must inspect the consignment and ensure there are no live pests, and conduct remedial action if live pests are found.
  • Import permits may be required in certain circumstances, for example, when a country continues to export consignments with high levels of live pests, import permits may be required to allow greater oversight and assurance that cut flowers and foliage arriving in Australia are compliant.
  • When consignments arrive in Australia, they will be:
    1. Visually inspected to verify that the biosecurity status of consignments meets Australia’s import conditions.
    2. Released if arthropod pests are unregulated, subject to freedom from other contaminants and pathogens.
    3. Treated if arthropod pests are identified as regulated, 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 released the draft report for Part 2 of the pest risk analysis for cut flower and foliage imports (Biosecurity Advice 2020-P04) for a 90 calendar day public consultation period, closing on 20 August 2020.

We are considering all comments received on the draft report. Your feedback will help inform our final report. We expect to release the final report in early 2021. Please note, that this is an indicative timeline and may be subject to change.

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 assesses 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.

Draft report

Summary of the draft report

We propose the same phytosanitary measures as recommended in Part 1 of the PRA, to manage the biosecurity risks posed by the arthropod pests (that are not thrips, mites and aphids) associated with cut flower and foliage imports, to achieve the appropriate level of protection for Australia.

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

Pests

We assessed all 582 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), that are associated with cut flowers and foliage.

We found that 357 species are quarantine pests for Australia, and a further four species are potential regulated articles because they can transmit pathogens that are quarantine pests for Australia.

The biosecurity risks posed by the 361 species of arthropod pests do not achieve Australia’s appropriate level of protection. Therefore phytosanitary measures are required to manage the risks.

An additional 17 species of wasps, bees and ants (Hymenoptera) were classified as plant quarantine pests during the pest categorisation process, but were not risk assessed as they were intercepted in very low numbers. The department will continue to monitor interceptions, and if these species are intercepted a risk assessment will be conducted. These species will be regulated at the Australian border.

In addition, the work conducted in Part 2 of this PRA has highlighted a number of contaminant pest species that are associated with the pathway for imported cut flowers and foliage, that are not present in Australia. If these contaminating pest species are detected on arrival in Australia, the consignments will have remedial action applied, or be subject to methyl bromide fumigation, re-exported or destroyed.

Risk management measures

We propose a range of measures to reduce the risk of these pests arriving in Australia via the cut flower and foliage pathway.

  • Before cut flowers and foliage are exported to Australia, the exporting country must use one of three arthropod pest management options:
    1. NPPO-approved systems approach, or
    2. Pre-export methyl bromide fumigation, or
    3. NPPO-approved alternative pre-export disinfestation treatment
  • In addition, the exporting country must ensure there are no live  pests in the consignment, as verified by NPPO pre-export visual inspection and remedial action if live pests are found.
  • Import permits may be required in certain circumstances, for example, when a country continues to export consignments with high levels of live pests, import permits may be required to allow greater oversight and assurance that cut flowers and foliage arriving in Australia are compliant.
  • When consignments arrive in Australia, they will be:
    1. Visually inspected to verify that the biosecurity status of consignments of cut flowers and foliage meet Australia’s import conditions.
    2. Released if arthropod pests are unregulated, subject to freedom from other contaminants and pathogens.
    3. Treated if arthropod pests are identified as regulated, or if the consignment does not meet Australia’s import conditions.

Download the draft report

Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, May 2020

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
Appendix D: Arthropod pest interceptions – Part 2 XLSX 4 166 KB

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 45 years. In 2017-18, Australia imported $70.3 million worth of fresh cut flowers, an increase from $63.5 million in 2016-17.

Cut flower and foliage industry in Australia

In 2017-2018:

  • Australia’s total value of fresh cut flower production was worth $280.6 million, of which a total value of $10.4 million was exported.
  • Australia’s main export markets for fresh cut flowers were Japan, with a value of $3.6 million, and the Netherlands with a value of $2.8 million.
  • Australia imported fresh cut flowers worth $70.3 million.
  • The main countries which exported fresh cut flowers to Australia were Kenya ($17.4 million), Malaysia ($15.3 million), Ecuador ($9.7 million), Colombia ($9.2 million), and China ($4.1 million).

Source:  https://www.horticulture.com.au/globalassets/hort-innovation/resource-assets/ah15001-australian-horticulture-statistics-handbook-other.pdf

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Contact us

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

Last reviewed: 18 August 2020
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