Cit­rus bud­wood bust in Bris­bane

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - Rural Weekly - Alexan­dra Laskie

A BRIS­BANE air­port pas­sen­ger who works in the hor­ti­cul­ture in­dus­try has been caught try­ing to smug­gle cit­rus bud­wood into the coun­try.

Fed­eral biose­cu­rity of­fi­cers caught the Aus­tralian trav­eller with cumquat bud­wood hid­den in the in­ner tub­ing of a tyre.

The Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Wa­ter Re­sources’ head of plant biose­cu­rity Marion Healy said the pas­sen­ger did not de­clare the plant ma­te­rial and would now be sub­jected to fur­ther en­force­ment ac­tion.

“This was a di­rect at­tempt to try and cir­cum­vent our biose­cu­rity sys­tem and an­other ex­am­ple of the work un­der­taken by our of­fi­cers on the front­line to man­age that risk,” she said.

A tyre with an in­ner tube that was se­cured with tape was found in the trav­eller’s lug­gage dur­ing a rou­tine in­spec­tion.

Biose­cu­rity of­fi­cers re­moved the tape and in­ner tyre and found a sin­gle bud­wood stick, which was later iden­ti­fied as cumquat.

Cit­rus Aus­tralia chief ex­ec­u­tive Nathan Han­cock

❝a

This was di­rect at­tempt to try and cir­cum­vent our biose­cu­rity sys­tem.

— Marion Healy

said il­le­gally im­ported cit­rus ma­te­rial could bring dis­ease that was not ap­par­ent to the naked eye, viruses that cause pre­ma­ture tree death or stunted tree growth.

“Bac­te­rial dis­ease such as cit­rus canker and huan­g­long­bing could ar­rive in Aus­tralia this way,” Mr Han­cock said.

Dr Healy warned that in­cor­rectly im­port­ing plant ma­te­rial into Aus­tralia risked bring­ing in pests and dis­eases that could threaten the na­tion’s hor­ti­cul­ture in­dus­tries and mar­ket ac­cess.

The last out­break of cit­rus canker at Emer­ald in Queens­land 13 years ago led to the de­struc­tion of half a mil­lion cit­rus trees.

“The fact this pas­sen­ger has put his own in­dus­try at risk is un­be­liev­able and dis­ap­point­ing,” she said.

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