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Media Release – Risk too great from Malaysian pineapples (20 October 2011)

Andrew Cripps MP 
Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Food and Regional Queensland 
Member for Hinchinbrook 

 Andrew Powell MP 
Shadow Minister for the Environment
Member for Glass House 

 20 October 2011

 THE risk from exotic pests was too great to allow imports of fresh pineapples fromMalaysia, the LNP said today.

 LNP Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Food and Regional Queensland Andrew Cripps said he was particularly concerned of the risk toQueensland’s pineapple industry from a range of exotic borers that had the potential to decimate local crops.

 “While the Federal government is proposing to allow the importation of de-crowned pineapples fromMalaysiathere is confusion over what chemicals can be safely used to kill the potential pests that may come to our shores,” Mr Cripps said.

 Mr Cripps said the advice issued today from the Federal government (BiosecurityAustralia) that fresh, de-crowned fruit be allowed intoAustraliasubject to being fumigated with methyl bromide would not sit well with many Australians.

 “Methyl bromide is not registered inAustraliafor use on pineapples and there is worldwide concern with its use and particularly for its link to destruction of the ozone layer.”

 Mr Cripps said he was concerned that if importers were allowed to circumvent national chemical registration regulations by fumigating fruit off-shore – thenAustraliawould be seen as two-faced.

 “Its use has been scaled back here over serious environmental concerns – so surely we should not be condoning its use off-shore.”

 Mr Cripps said the draft recommendations fromCanberrawould not please theQueenslandindustry and needed to be resisted at all costs.

 Mr Powell said the range of exotic pests that could be introduced from fresh Malaysian pineapples included: Dysmicoccus grassii, Dysmicoccus neobrevipes (grey pineapple mealybug), Planococcus minor (Pacific mealybug) and Pseudococcus jackbeardsleyi (Jack Beardsley mealybug).

 “These are highly damaging pests that we don’t need here,” Mr Powell said.

 “With some 80% ofQueensland’s fresh pineapples produced in the electorate of Glass House, that’s a risk I simply can’t support.”

 “If these recommendations are supported and fresh pineapples are imported fromMalaysiathe consequences for local growers will be devastating,” Mr Powell concluded.

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