Australia declared free from citrus canker
Australia has been declared officially free from citrus canker following remaining restricted areas in the Northern Territory (NT) being lifted.
Minister for Agriculture, Drought, and Emergency Management, David Littleproud acknowledged and thanked NT and Western Australia (WA) for their immense efforts in leading the national response to citrus canker.
“Citrus canker is a serious bacterial disease of citrus which affects the leaves, twigs and fruit causing leaves to drop and fruit to fall to the ground before it ripens,” Minister Littleproud said.
The disease was first detected affecting potted citrus plants in April 2018 in Darwin (NT) and May 2018 in Kununurra and Wyndham (WA) in a small number of properties with potted plants originating from the NT.
“If left untreated it could have been detrimental to our $800 million citrus industry," Littleproud said. “WA was declared free from citrus canker in November 2019 after eradication activities were completed in the Kununurra and Wyndham areas."
“The nationally coordinated response to locate and remove all traces of citrus canker in the NT has been successful and all eradication activities are now complete, thanks to the support of the NT community."
He said this milestone is "great news" for the Darwin community and Australia more broadly as it allows residents and businesses in the formerly restricted areas to reintroduce, grow and cultivate citrus plants on their properties.
“It also allows unrestricted domestic movement and trade of citrus fruit and leaves into and out of the formerly restricted areas," Littleproud said.
“This is an important example of the significant biosecurity risks that Australia faces and why it is so important to follow our biosecurity conditions relating to the introduction of plant material."