The Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee will hold an inquiry into the effect on Australian pineapple growers of importing fresh pineapples from Malaysia, following a motion successfully moved by Senator Boswell on June 20 in Parliament.
“The inquiry will look closely at Biosecurity Australia’s provincial final import risk analysis report for fresh decrowned pineapple fruit from Malaysia. It will give pineapple growers the opportunity to voice their concerns on the public record,” Senator Boswell said.
Growers have objected to the report and have cited the threat of the pathogen Erwinia chrysanthemi, recently named Dickeya sp, as a risk to the local pineapple industry.
The bacterial pathogen causes Bacterial Fruit Collapse and Heart Rot in pineapples in Malaysia. It is currently not present in Australia.
Senator Boswell said that it is vital to ensure that Australian local crops are not at risk from harmful diseases introduced from overseas as the consequences could be devastating.
The Senate inquiry will look closely at the scientific basis on which the provincial final import risk analysis has been developed, and will examine the risks and consequences of the importation of pineapples from Malaysia.
The Senate inquiry will soon accept submissions from interested parties and will hold public hearings.
To allow easy access for pineapple growers to appear at the committee, Senator Boswell will push for the Senate inquiry to convene a public hearing on the Sunshine Coast, which is the major production area for pineapples.
The inquiry will also examine the adequacy of quarantine conditions recommended by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
The Committee will report back by 10 October 2012.