Growers fear disease if imports approved

Belhus table grape grower Tony Kundid expressed concerns over the impact imported grapes could have on his harvest.
Belhus table grape grower Tony Kundid expressed concerns over the impact imported grapes could have on his harvest.

Grape Growers’ Association of WA committee members reported at their last meeting that an application to import the grapes was imminent.

GGAWA president Darryl Trease sent a letter to WA Premier Colin Barnett expressing the association’s |concerns for the bio-security of the |industry.

‘There are pests and disease prevalent in the eastern states that are not present in WA,’ he said.

‘The risks to the local table grape industry, wine industry and, by association, the tourism industry from imported eastern Australian grapes is unacceptably high and none must be allowed to enter WA.’

Permit applications for the import table grapes from other Australian states and territories can be declined by the Department of Agriculture and Food, pending the outcome of a pest risk analysis.

A DAFWA spokesman said the department had not yet received an application for a permit to import the grapes, but DAFWA officers were preparing a draft pest-risk analysis report that would be released for consultation soon.

West Swan MLA Rita Saffioti said she would campaign strongly against applications to bring in the grapes.

‘The local industry is already feeling the impact of a recent decision to allow Californian table grapes into the state,’ she said.

‘Further imports cannot be allowed to happen.

‘WA is free of different diseases and contamination presents a big risk to local vineyards.

‘We are unique here in WA with the Swan Valley and, I believe, we should keep it that way.’

Growers and residents can register as a stakeholder to receive information on DAFWA’s draft pest-risk analysis, which will soon be released for public submissions.

Email your details to: plantbio securitypolicy@agric.wa.gov.au