The Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee will hold an inquiry into the effect on Australian ginger growers of importing fresh ginger from Fiji, following a motion successfully moved by Senator Boswell on September 19 in Parliament.
“Australian ginger growers have objected to the import risk analysis report. The Senate inquiry will give growers the opportunity to voice their concerns regarding the risk of introducing pest species and soil-borne diseases from overseas on the public record,” Senator Boswell said.
The inquiry will examine the scientific basis on which Biosecurity Australia’s provisional final import risk analysis report regarding the importation of fresh ginger has been developed, as well as the adequacy of the pest risk assessments contained in the report.
The report was released by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry on August 13 and identified yam scale and Radopholus similis (burrowing nematode) as biosecurity risks that Fijian exporters must manage.
The Australian Ginger Industry Association believes that the pest management controls proposed by Biosecurity Australia to prevent the threat of burrowing nematode do not go far enough. They argue that the threat of burrowing nematode and yam scale are too great and that methyl bromide fumigation must be compulsory on all imported ginger.
“This inquiry is crucial as Australia cannot risk the devastating consequences of harmful diseases introduced from overseas. The inquiry will look closely at the scientific evidence and assess the risk to Australian ginger growers,” Senator Boswell said.
The Senate inquiry will accept submissions from interested parties up to October 15. All submissions should be directed to the:
Senate Standing Committees on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport
PO Box 6100
Canberra ACT 2600
The Inquiry will hold a public hearing in Canberra on October 2. The Committee will report back by November 29, 2012.